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The echocardiogram is a noninvasive technique used to record the structure of the heart by using ultrahigh-frequency sound waves. A transducer placed on the chest wall emits a short burst of ultrasound waves and then measures the reflection, or echo of the sound as it bounces back from such cardiac structures as valves and the muscle wall. It is used to evaluate chamber size, wall thickness, wall motion, valve structure, and valve motion. It is the method of choice for detecting infection of the valves (endocarditis), intracardiac tumors, and pericardial fluid. Mitral valve prolapse is easily visualized by this noninvasive technique.

For further information about the Cardiopulmonary Services at Memorial Hospital, call 570-268-2243.