An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. Ultrasound uses sound waves to help doctors see inside the body. It does not hurt or damage the body. During an echocardiogram, a doctor can watch the moving heart while it is beating and see many of its structures working.
An echocardiogram is the best way for a cardiologist (heart specialist) to see if a congenital heart defect is present. A cardiologist can also evaluate the heart of someone who has had a heart attack, or assess the pumping function of the heart.