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The Yakima Heart Center Echocardiography Department was founded in 1976 and is directed by Robert A. Ortiz M.D., F.A.C.C. All of our technologists performing tests are nationally registered in cardiac sonography and our department is accredited through the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC), a national commission that ensures that labs perform high quality exams.


Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Echocardiography


More About Echocardiography

What is an Echocardiogram (Echo)?

An echocardiogram is a test that uses ultrasound to create a moving picture of the heart. This test provides detailed information about the structure and function of your heart, specifically the valves and walls of the heart. 

Echocardiography is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.

Alternative names

Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE); Echocardiogram - transthoracic; Doppler ultrasound of the heart; Surface echo

How the test is performed?

A trained sonographer will perform the test.  An instrument called a transducer that transmits high-frequency sound waves is placed on your ribs near the breastbone and directed toward the heart. Images will be taken underneath and slightly to the left of your nipple (at the apex of your heart). The transducer picks up the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them as electrical impulses. The echocardiography machine converts these impulses into moving pictures of the heart. Another instrument, a Doppler probe, records the motion of the blood through the heart.

An echocardiogram allows doctors to see the heart beating and to see many of the structures of the heart. Occasionally, your lungs, ribs, or body tissue may prevent the sound waves from providing a clear picture of heart function. In this case, the sonographer may inject a small amount of liquid (contrast) through an IV to better see the inside of the heart (see Bubble Study). Very rarely, more invasive testing using special echocardiography probes may be necessary.

There is no preparation necessary for a resting echocardiogram.

What to expect

You will be asked to remove your clothes from the waist up and lie on an examination table on your back. Electrodes will be placed on your chest. A gel will be spread on your chest and then the transducer will be applied. You will feel a slight pressure from the transducer. You may be asked to breathe in a certain way or to roll over onto your left side. The test will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes. There is no preparation necessary for this exam and you will have no after-effects.

A specially trained cardiologist will interpret the test and a report will be sent to your physician within one week.

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406 South 30th Avenue Suite 101
Yakima, WA 98902
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Phone: 509.248.7715
Fax: 509.453.4319
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