Ultrasound scan of the heart (echocardiogram)

Author:  Maria Yiallouros, Gesche Tallen, MD, PhD, erstellt am 2007/07/16, English Translation:  Hannah McRae, Last modification:  2015/05/08

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound examination of the heart. It is sometimes required prior to an operation, depending on the kind of surgical method to be applied.

The echocardiogram, also referred to as cardiac echo or simply echo, can be used to assess the size, shape, and performance of the heart, the location of the heart valves, and the strength of the heart muscle’s wall.

It is important to perform an echocardiography if damage to the heart muscle, for example by chemotherapy or infection, is suspected. Furthermore, the position of a central venous catheter can be assessed and documented by echocardiography.

It can also be used to rule out heart anomalies, which is essential prior to certain surgical procedures for which the patient needs to be in sitting position during general anesthesia (for example, removal of certain brain tumours).