An Echocardiogram is an ultra-sound of the heart. It uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart that is more detailed than x-ray and involves no radiation exposure.
A trained sonographer performs the test, then your physician interprets the results. An instrument that transmits high-frequency sound waves called a transducer is placed on your chest near the breast bone and directed toward the heart. The transducer picks up the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them as electrical impulses, which are then converted into moving pictures of the heart.
The stress echocardiogram combines an echocardiogram with the standard treadmill stress test. It tests the heart's reaction during periods of rest and exercise. The echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasounds) to look at how the various parts of the heart work. If Coronary Artery Disease is present, the stress echo will often note changes in how the heart muscle contracts.
TRANSESOPHAGEAL ECHOCARDIOGRAM (TEE)
If a standard echocardiogram is unclear due to an obstruction, it may be necessary to perform a transesophageal echocardiogram. With TEE, the back of the throat is anesthetized and a scope is inserted. On the end of the scope is an ultrasonic device that a cardiologist will guide down to the lower part of the esophagus, where it is used to obtain a clearer, two-dimensional echocardiogram of the heart.