An echocardiogram ("echo" for short) is a cardiac ultrasound, and helps assess the condition of your heart. It uses a device called a transducer to transmit high-frequency sound waves through the body. As the waves bounce (or "echo") off structures in the body, they are shown on a monitor.

In a standard echocardiogram, a technician moves the transducer across your torso. The echo can show the heart walls and valves, and the emptying and filling of the heart chambers. These views can help determine whether there are any structural problems with your heart. An echo can also help measure your ejection fraction (EF), which is the amount of blood your heart pumps out with each beat.

In a Cardiac Doppler test, the ultrasound waves bounce off red blood cells moving within the heart chambers. This reveals the speed and direction of blood flow within the heart, and helps determine how well the heart valves are working.

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