An echocardiogram is the best way for a cardiologist (heart specialist) to see if a congenital heart defect is present. A cardiologist can also evaluate the heart of someone who has had a heart attack, or assess the pumping function of the heart.
During the echocardiogram, you will lie on your back and remove your clothing from the waist up. A warm gel will be spread on your chest. The ultrasound technician or cardiologist conducting the test will use a device called a transducer. The transducer transmits high-frequency ultrasound waves (you cannot hear them). The transducer will be placed on your chest near the breastbone. The technician may move the transducer around your chest to get different views of the heart. You may feel some pressure from the transducer being held against your chest but it is not painful.
The pictures created during the echocardiogram appear on a monitor on the ultrasound machine. The technician creates photographs and video recordings from the ultrasound images for the cardiologist to review. The echocardiogram images are added to your medical record.