Echocardiography or echo, is a painless test that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart. The pictures show the size and shape of your heart. They also show how well your heart's chambers and valves are working.
A sonographer will apply gel to your chest. The gel helps the sound waves reach your heart. A wand-like device called a transducer will then be moved around on your chest. The sonographer will record pictures of various parts of your heart. During the test, you may be asked to change positions or hold your breath for a short time. This allows the sonographer to get better pictures of your heart. At times, the sonographer may apply a bit of pressure to your chest with the transducer. You may find this pressure a little uncomfortable, but it helps get the best picture of your heart. You should let the sonographer know if you feel too uncomfortable.
A transthoracic ECHO is almost risk free as only minor discomfort from the transducer or mild pain when moving the transducer around may be felt.