Echocardiogram (Echo; TransThoracic Echocardiogram; TTE)
An echocardiogram is a specialized ultrasound machine that creates a video image of the beating heart. This non-invasive test is often used to identify problems with heart muscle and valves.It is a fast, easy and painless evaluation that uses ultrasound waves to produce images of the heart, evaluate your heart’s performance as well as the inside, including the heart chambers and valves. An echo may sometimes also be used to look for the cause of a heart murmur, to check the size of the heart chambers, for fluid around the heart, or to inspect the pumping capability of the heart if a patient is short of breath or has other symptoms, f.i. during exertion.
Another type of echocardiogram is a transesophageal echocardiogram also referred as a TEE. This test may be recommended to evaluate different structures in the heart such a valves or blood clots. The esophagus sits behind the heart and by advancing the echo transducer down the esophagus common obstructions are avoided such as the lungs and ribs. This provides clearer images.