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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Echocardiography is a procedure used to assess the heart's structures and function.
Echocardiography is also called echo, cardiac ultrasound, cardiac Doppler, transthoracic echocardiography, or TTE.
If your child needs an echocardiography, a small probe called a transducer is placed on his chest and sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard.
When the transducer is placed on your child's chest in certain locations and at certain angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce (or "echo") off the heart structures.
The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes and creates an image of the heart walls and valves.
An echocardiogram can use one, or more, of seven special types of echocardiography, as listed below:
Several diseases of the heart may be detected by echocardiography, including:
The test may be done in a cardiologist's office, in a clinic, at a hospital or medical center as an outpatient, or as an inpatient in a medical facility. In most cases, you will be allowed to stay with your child to provide reassurance during the procedure.
In order to obtain clear pictures, it’s important for children who are old enough to cooperate and try to hold still during the echocardiogram. Parents usually can be involved in reassuring and encouraging their child during the procedure. An echocardiogram can be a lengthy procedure.
Younger children may become restless during the test, which can prevent us from being able to create clear images. For this reason, young children may be given a medication (sedative) to help relax him during the echocardiogram.
For safety reasons, you will need to remain at the echo clinic until your child has woken up fully and the medicine has worn off.
Depending on the results, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”