Echocardiography is the application of ultrasound for imaging of the heart. Standard ultrasound techniques are used to image two-dimensional slices of the heart. Apart from 2-D, conventional echocardiography also employs M-mode and Doppler. Color Doppler is used to image flowing blood. Continuous wave Doppler and Pulsed wave Doppler are used to measure the velocity of flowing blood. Latest developments in the field of echocardiography includes real time 3-D imaging, tissue Doppler and many specialized techniques.
The usual echocardiogram is also known as a transthoracic echocardiogram, or TTE. In TTE, heart is imaged from outside through the chest wall. The echocardiography probe is placed on the chest wall of the subject and images are obtained. This is a simple, highly accurate test. Another method to perform an echocardiogram is to insert a specialized endoscope containing an echocardiography transducer into the patient's esophagus and record pictures from there. This is known as a transesophageal echocardiogram or TEE. TEE has the advantage of giving better images. This is because the transducer is closer to the heart. Some of the posterior structures of the heart are better imaged with TEE. These include the aorta, the pulmonary artery, the valves of the heart, and the left atrium. TEE requires light sedation and a local anesthetic lubricant for the esophagus and is slightly uncomfortable for the patient.
Echocardiology.org aims to provide you with simple tutorials of the echocardiographic features of common cardiac disorders. We will be continually updating the site with new information and will be adding images and video clips in the future.