Your child will lie on a table and can choose to watch TV while one of our Pediatric Echocardiography Technologists puts a camera (which we call a probe or transducer) on your child’s chest and makes gray wavy pictures of the heart. You and your child can watch the pictures if you want, or keep watching TV — it’s up to you.
The echocardiogram is an ultrasound, which is a type of machine used to make pictures of many other parts of the body too.
Ultrasound involves sending out a sound wave and then listening to see how long it takes to bounce back (that’s where the “echo” comes from).
The first use of this was called sonar, when scientists sent one sound wave to the bottom of the ocean to see how deep the water was in that spot. It turns out that if we send thousands of those sound waves out of our probe and then catch them when they bounce back, we can put all of those points together and make a picture of what is inside the body.
When we use this to take a still picture of a part of your body that isn’t moving, like your kidney, we call it an ultrasound. But when we are taking movies of the only part of the body that is constantly moving — the heart — we call it an echocardiogram.