Transthoracic Echocardiogram
What is a Transthoracic echocardiogram?

A Transthoracic echocardiogram (or “echo”) is an ultrasound test that produces images of your heart to help your doctor diagnose a range of potential problems.

An echo is a simple painless procedure carried out by trained sonographers to view your heart structure and how well it is working. The sonographer will use ultrasound images of your heart to detect things such as:

  • Blood flow

  • Size, shape and movement

  • Function and performance

  • Strength of muscles/tissue

  • Congenital defects (from birth)

Why might I need an echo test?

Your doctor might order an echocardiogram to check the health and function of your heart. 

Symptoms such as shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, high or low blood pressure can require further investigation.

What should I expect at an echo test?

  • Echocardiography is a type of ultrasound that does not use radiation or X-ray and carries no known risk.

  • The test usually takes about 30 minutes.

  • You will be asked to undress to your waist (a gown can be provided), and lie on an examination bed on your left side.

  • Your cardiac sonographer will attach small ECG electrodes to your chest which will be used to monitor your heart rhythm during the test.

  • As with other ultrasound procedures, a cool gel is placed on your skin and a handheld transducer is used to send and receive waves from your heart to generate pictures.