What is an Echo Doppler?

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  • Written By: Lucinda Reynolds
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2018
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An echo Doppler is a medical test in which high frequency sound waves are transmitted into the heart to detect its shape, size, and motion. The sound waves are transmitted from a microphone that is placed over the chest. As the sound waves bounce off the structures of the heart, they are captured and turned into images that are displayed on a monitor screen.

This test is sometimes referred to as an echocardiogram (ECG). It is a non-invasive, valuable tool when it comes to diagnosing specific heart diseases. Echocardiograms can give the doctor a clear indication of how well the heart is functioning, allowing a medical professional to see if the heart is pumping effectively to send blood through the body. They can also show if there is any damage to the heart tissue.

Echocardiograms can be used to detect any type of diseases that may affect the heart valves. This is extremely important because an improperly functioning heart valve can cause an individual to experience shortness of breath, irregular heart beat, and sometimes even a heart attack. If a valve abnormality is detected, surgery can be preformed to correct the problem. In many cases, this simple bedside test can save a life.


Coronary artery disease is another condition that can be found using an echo Doppler. This condition is characterized by a narrowing of the blood vessels that lead to the heart. If the blood vessel become blocked completely, the patient may experience a heart attack. This test can detect this narrowing of the blood vessels, which lets a medical professional know the patient may be a high risk for having a heart attack.

If an individual has been scheduled to have an echo Doppler, he can expect the test to take approximately 15 to 30 minutes. The individual will usually lie on an exam table. The examiner will have to expose the chest and apply a cold, thick gel which acts as a conductor that helps the transducer or microphone produce the sound waves. This diagnostic test is completely painless, and there are no side effects.

After the test is completed, the results will be sent to a physician. If the test is positive for any heart abnormalities, a follow up with a cardiologist may be required to determine the type of treatment that is needed.


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