An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. The test is routinely used in the diagnosis, management and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart, pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage.

How the test is performed. The ultrasound technician will position you on the table on your side, apply gel on your skin over the heart and chest area, and then press on the skin with a hand-held transducer to obtain the necessary images.

How to prepare for the test. There is no preparation required.

How the test will feel. The echocardiogram is usually painless.  The pressure put over your chest and heart could possibly cause slight discomfort.