An echocardiogram, or "echo", is a scan used tolook atthe heart and nearby blood vessels.

It's a type of Ultrasound scan , which means a small probe is used to send out high-frequency sound waves thatcreate echoeswhen they bounce off different parts of the body.

Theseechoes are picked up by the probe and turned into a moving image that's displayedon a monitor while the scan is carried out.

An echocardiogram may be requested by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your heart, including your GP.

The test will usually be carried out at a hospital or clinic by a cardiologist or a trained specialist called a cardiac physiologist.

Although it has a similar name, an echocardiogram isn't the same as an electrocardiogram (ECG) , which is a test used to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity.

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Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Nov 2016