Echocardiogram / Echo
Involves the application of an ultrasound probe with coupling gel to gather diagnostic information on the heart. Sound waves sent through the probe bounce off the structures within the body and return for the machine to generate a moving image.
The applications of echo are vast and include evaluation of murmurs, investigation for congenital heart disease, valvular pathologies, heart failure, peripheral oedema (swelling of ankles), shortness of breath (with or without exertion) and risk stratification of ongoing management of patients with heart disease.
Studies can also be tailored to view the effect of pacemakers and determining whether a biventricular pacemaker insertion (a pacemaker with three leads) will improve heart failure. There is no risk associated with the procedure. No preparation by the patient is required.