An echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart. A Doppler test uses sound waves to measure the speed and direction of blood flow. By combining these tests, a pediatric cardiologist gets useful information about the heart's anatomy and function.

Pediatric echocardiography is also mainly used for the detection of congenital heart defects. It is also used for the evaluation of murmurs and is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness of medical therapy and surgical treatments.

How is an echocardiogram performed?

In echocardiography a small probe, called a transducer, is placed on the patient’s chest and sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed in certain locations and at certain angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues where the waves bounce (or "echo") off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves. These images are then evaluated by pediatric cardiologist.