An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create a picture of your heart. The recorded waves show the shape, texture and movement of the valves, as well as the size of the heart chambers and how well they are working. It may be done to determine whether your stroke was caused by a heart condition and can also help determine if there is a risk of blood clots forming in your heart.
What is involved
For a regular echocardiogram, no special preparation is needed. A gel is placed on your chest to help transmit the sound waves and a transducer (a unit that directs sound waves) is moved over your chest. This test involves no pain or discomfort and is done in a similar way as any ultrasound is performed.
If you require more detailed information, check with the facility where you are having your exam.
Last reviewed: August 2008.