This procedure is an ultrasound exam of the heart and of the major blood vessels connecting to the heart. It allows visualization of the cardiac structures. By using color-flow Doppler and other types of ultrasound Doppler, this exam is able to measure the direction, velocity or speed, and quality of the flow of blood through the cardiac structures. It can reveal areas affected by a myocardial infarction (heart tissue damage) or evaluate heart murmurs or birth defects that affect the heart. It is performed on any age patient, from newborn through senior citizens.
This technique is used to "see" the actual structures and motion of the heart structures. A 2-D echo view appears cone-shaped on the monitor, and the real-time motion of the heart's structures can be observed. This enables the physician to see the various heart structures at work and evaluate them.