Last edited 12/2022 and last reviewed 12/2022

Echocardiography uses ultrasound to provide a real-time image of the heart. Notably:

  • it is non-invasive and is thought to be harmless
  • the ultrasound generator and receiver is a piezo- electric crystal
  • for high resolution images a high frequency ultrasound must be used - this is 2 MHz for adults and 7 MHz for infants

Notes (1):

  • heart failure:
    • in the absence of a significant cardiac history, and with a normal physical examination and 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), then the presence of simple cardiomegaly (without pulmonary congestion or other findings suggestive of cardiac disease) on a chest X-ray does not warrant an echocardiogram as the likely yield of identifying significant cardiac pathology is low
  • hypertension:
    • an echocardiogram is not indicated routinely to evaluate patients with hypertension, particularly when a normal 12-lead ECG and physical examination is present (1)