Echocardiography / Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)
Echocardiography (sometimes called an echo or an echocardiogram) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves to produce an image of the heart. The sound waves are sent through a device called a transducer and are reflected off the various structures of the heart. These echoes are converted into pictures of the heart that can be seen on a video monitor.
An echocardiogram is used to evaluate how well your heart chambers fill with blood and pump it to the rest of the body. Echocardiography can also be used to estimate the amount of blood pumped out of your left ventricle with each heartbeat (called the ejection fraction). An echo also helps evaluate heart size and heart valve function.
Echocardiography is generally a painless procedure. The gel feels like hair gel and may be cold and slippery when rubbed on your chest. The transducer head is pressed firmly against your chest, but usually this is not uncomfortable.