An Echocardiogram is an ultrasound examination of the heart. It is performed by highly specialised cardiac technicians with an ultrasound probe placed at various positions on the chest. Special jelly is used to help transmit the sounds waves which are bounced off the moving heart. It is a great investigation because it is harmless, has no radiation involved, and gives us loads of real-time information on how the heart is working.
An Echocardiogram is now so advanced we can see the heart in great detail. We can see how the main pumping chambers of the heart – the ventricles – are working, whether the valves are opening and closing properly and many other aspects of heart structure and function. Some heart conditions such as those of the valves require monitoring with serial Echos over years. Almost anyone with concerns about their heart will benefit from the information an Echo gives – it is often entirely reassuring.