With echocardiography, the heart is examined externally through the chest wall with ultrasonic waves. This method of examination allows assessment of heart size as well as heart and valve function. This process shows possible thickening of the heart musculature or wall motion abnormalities which could indicate a heart attack or cardiac muscle disease. In addition, echocardiography can uncover heart valve disease, for example if the valves are leaky. Pressure measurement in the heart is also possible with this process.

The flow speed of the blood can also be determined using Doppler and color duplex sonography. This enables the doctor to detect constricted or leaky heart valves and shunts and make a comprehensive evaluation of the heart and circulatory system.

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