Echocardiography

An echocardiogram is a valuable tool that doctors use to diagnose and manage many forms of heart disease. This painless, non-invasive test uses sound waves to check the heart's structure, movements, and blood flow. It is an important tool for checking heart valves and tracking heart conditions over time.

One technology that sets us apart is our expertise with three-dimensional (3-D) echocardiography, an advanced technique that allows doctors to see the heart in three dimensions--just as a surgeon would see it. Physicians at the University of Chicago pioneered this 3-D technology and defined how 3-D echo can be used to distinguish between normal and abnormal hearts.

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The echocardiography lab at University of Chicago Cardiac Imaging Center was the first in the Chicago area--and one of the first in North America--to gain accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation for Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL).

A number of echo technologies are available at the University of Chicago Cardiac Imaging Center, including:

  • Exercise stress echocardiogram. During these tests, a patient uses a treadmill to assess how the heart functions during activity.
  • Dobutamine stress echocardiogram. This is an option for patients who cannot exercise but who require a cardiac stress test. During this test, the patient receives medication that temporarily causes the heart to beat faster, as it does during exercise.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). This semi-invasive test gives an even clearer picture of the heart than other echo tests. During this test, the patient is sedated and a small probe is placed down the esophagus. Doctors also use TEE to study heart valves or check for blood clots in the heart before interventional procedures or during surgery to monitor patients with existing heart problems.
  • Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE). These are advanced tests performed by interventional cardiologists to "guide" them during procedures to fix valves or holes inside the heart. In ICE, doctors insert a tiny imaging tool called a transducer inside the heart, using thin tubes called catheters. Our doctors have extensive expertise in performing ICE in a wide variety of patients.

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Referring Physicians: To schedule a patient for a comprehensive echocardiography study, please call (773) 702-1843.