Ultrasound exams can help diagnose a variety of conditions and assess organ damage following an illness. Physicians use ultrasound tests to evaluate symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Infection
Types of ultrasound tests:

Cardiovascular Ultrasounds

A cardiovascular ultrasound, or an echocardiogram (echo), uses ultrasound imaging to look at the size, shape and motion of the heart.

An echocardiogram shows:

  • 4 chambers of the heart
  • Heart valves and the walls of the heart
  • Blood vessels leaving and entering the heart
  • Pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart)

Specialized echocardiograms include:

  • Contrast echo (a solution is injected into the vein and can be seen in the heart)
  • Stress echo (records the heart’s activity during a stress test)
  • Echo with Doppler ultrasound (helps assess blood flow)
  • Transesophageal echo (a tube with an ultrasound device at the end is put down your throat into the esophagus. May be needed instead of standard echocardiogram for people with certain lung diseases or obesity.)

An echo may be used to:

  • Evaluate a heart murmur
  • Diagnose valve condition
  • Look for changes in the heart’s structure
  • Assess damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack
  • Asses the function of different parts of the heart in people with chronic heart disease
  • Test blood flow through the heart
  • Assess chest pain
  • Look for blood clots

Heart (Vascular) – Venous and Carotid

Venous ultrasound provides pictures of the veins throughout the body.


Ultrasound imaging of the breast produces a picture of the internal structures of the breast


Abdominal ultrasound imaging is performed to evaluate the:

  • kidneys
  • liver
  • gallbladder
  • pancreas
  • spleen
  • abdominal aorta and other blood vessels of the abdomen

Ultrasound is used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, such as:

  • abdominal pain or distention.
  • abnormal liver function.
  • enlarged abdominal organ.
  • stones in the gallbladder or kidney.
  • an aneurysm in the aorta.


There are three types of pelvic ultrasound:

  • abdominal (transabdominal)
  • vaginal (transvaginal, endovaginal) for women
  • rectal (transrectal) for men


Obstetrical ultrasound provides pictures of an embryo or fetus within a woman’s uterus.


An ultrasound of the thyroid produces a picture of the thyroid gland.


Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum provides pictures of the testicles and the surrounding tissues of a man or a boy.

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