An echocardiogram is a noninvasive procedure to evaluate the heart’s structures, valves, and function.  It provides an assessment of how the walls of the heart muscle are pumping and to better explain the cause of a heart murmur.

A transducer, similar to a microphone, sends out safe ultrasonic sound waves and is positioned on the chest at particular locations and angles.  The ultrasonic sound waves echo through the skin and reach the heart structure where the reflected waves echo back  to the transducer.  A computer image is generated of the moving heart and its circulation within the chambers.

Transesophageal Echo (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram is performed by inserting a probe with a transducer down the esophagus (feeding tube) rather than placing the transducer on the chest.  TEE provides a clearer visualization of the heart chambers with a direct look at heart valves, infection sources, and blood clots developing in the heart chambers.