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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.