Echocardiography, also called an echo test or cardiac ultrasound, utilizes high frequency sound waves to create real-time images of your beating heart so that your radiologist and referring clinician can assess how well your heart, valves and chambers are functioning. An echo test can identify cardiac muscle disease, the heart’s condition after a heart attack, fluid collected around the heart, blood clots and tumors, problems with the heart lining (pericardium), stenosis of the valves, and malfunctioning of the main artery of the heart, called the aorta, as well as issues with related arteries and veins.  

Your doctor may refer you for an echo test if you reported unexplained chest pain or shortness of breath, or if your stethoscope exam revealed an irregular heartbeat. 

RAI’s cardiac ultrasound technologists are highly trained and experienced in echocardiography, which is a safe, painless test that contains no ionizing radiation.

What to Expect

As you lie comfortably on a table, a clear conductive gel is applied to the skin and a transducer wand is swabbed over your chest, capturing sounds waves from the heart and sending them to a computer that creates live images for later review by your radiologist and referring clinician. The test usually takes less than an hour. It is completely noninvasive and requires no contrast material or sedation, so it is safe to drive yourself to and from this exam.