Diagnostic Services
 
An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. The picture is much more detailed than a plain x-ray image and involves no radiation exposure.
How the Test is Performed 
A trained sonographer performs the test, and then your heart doctor interprets the results. An instrument called a transducer that transmits high-frequency sound waves is placed on your ribs near the breast bone and directed toward the heart.

Additional images will be taken underneath and slightly to the left of your nipple (at the apex of your heart). The transducer picks up the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them as electrical impulses. The echocardiography machine converts these impulses into moving pictures of the heart. The Doppler probe records the motion of the blood through the heart.
An echocardiogram allows doctors to see the heart beating, and to see many of the structures of the heart. Occasionally, your lungs, ribs, or body tissue may prevent the sound waves and echoes from providing a clear picture of heart function. If so, the sonographer may inject a small amount of liquid (contrast) through an IV to better see the inside of the heart..
An Echocardiogram is performed to evaluate the valves and chambers of the heart in a noninvasive way. The echocardiogram allows doctors to diagnose, evaluate, and monitor :
Heart murmurs.
Abnormal heart valves
The pumping function of the heart for people with heart failure
Damage to the heart muscle in patients who have had heart attacks
Infection in the sac around the heart (pericarditis)
Infection on or around the heart valves (infectious endocarditis)
The source of a blood clot or emboli after a stroke or TIA.
Congenital heart disease
Atrial fibrillation
Pulmonary hypertension