Also known as echocardiography or cardiac ultrasound

Echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of your heart. The picture and information it produces is more detailed than a standard X-ray image. An echocardiogram does not expose you to radiation.

During an echocardiogram, a wand called a transducer is passed over your chest and sends out sounds waves. A computer measures how the sound waves reflect back (“echo”) and changes the sound waves into pictures.

Transthoracic echocardiogram is the type of echocardiogram that most people will have. Other types include:

  • Stress echocardiogram (stress test echo)
  • Parm stress echocardiogram
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • 3-D echocardiogram
  • Contrast echocardiogram

Wake Forest Baptist is fully accredited through the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) in adult and pediatric echocardiography.

Leading the Way in Echocardiograms

The Heart and Vascular Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a pioneer in the field of echocardiogram. We were one of the first in the country to utilize 2-D echo for clinical diagnosis, and later led the way in incorporating transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) into routine clinical practice. We performed some of the first studies using TEE and 3-D echo to improve outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Dalane W. Kitzman, MD, led the clinical development of the only currently available contrast agent for echocardiography, designing the first 6 trials and leading 2 of them. These trials were pivotal in the eventual approval of these agents by the FDA for clinical use.