An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart. This common test allows your doctor to see your heart beating and pumping blood. Your doctor can use the images from an echocardiogram to identify heart disease. Depending on what information your doctor needs, you may have one of several types of echocardiograms. Each type of echocardiogram involves few, if any, risks.
Your doctor may suggest an echocardiogram to:
Check for problems with the valves or chambers of your heart
Check if heart problems are the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain
Detect congenital heart defects before birth (fetal echocardiogram)
The type of echocardiogram you have depends on the information your doctor needs.