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Diagnostic Medical Sonography


Pediatric Echocardiography

Pediatric Echocardiography

What is Pediatric Echocardiography?

Echocardiography (echo) is a procedure used to assess the heart's structures and function.  Pediatric echocardiography is mainly used for the detection of congenital heart defects. It is also used for the evaluation of murmurs and is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness of medical therapy and surgical treatments.  An echocardiogram is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create an image of the heart's internal anatomy. Two-dimensional echocardiography is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler ultrasound to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the heart. Echocardiography is the use of ultrasound to examine and measure the structure and functioning of the heart.

How is echocardiography performed?

In echocardiography, a small probe called a transducer is placed on your child's chest and sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed in certain locations and at certain angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce (or "echo") off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves.

The test is performed by a pediatric echocardiographer (a technologist with extensive training and certification in echocardiography) and is interpreted by a pediatric cardiologist who is also specially trained in pediatric echocardiography. The examiner will put a few stick-on patches called electrodes on the patient for an EKG (electrocardiographic) tracing during the exam. He or she will also put a small handheld device (called a transducer) on the chest and abdomen. It sends and receives the sounds waves and is connected by cable to the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound machine is a computer that converts sounds waves to pictures. A small amount of clear gel is used between the transducer and chest to make sure there is proper skin contact. The exam is completely painless and usually lasts less than 30 minutes. No preparation is necessary for the examination. 

Why is echocardiography performed on a child?

About 40,000 children are born with a heart defect each year. Most of these children can benefit from surgery even if the defect is severe. When surgery is necessary, many medical treatments are available to help the heart work properly.

The two types of heart disease in children are "congenital" and "acquired." Congenital heart disease (also known as a congenital heart defect) is present at birth. Some defects in this category are patent ductus arteriosis, atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects. Acquired heart disease, which develops sometime during childhood, includes diseases such as Kawasaki disease, rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis. For more information on common congenital heart defects visit the Mayo Clinic and for echo images of congenital heart defects visit the University of Kansas Medical Center. 

For more information about earning potential and work environment for sonographers, visit the Inside Scoop.


Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers The (SDMS) was founded in 1970 to promote, advance, and educate its members and the medical community in the science of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) is an independent, nonprofit organization that administers examinations and awards credentials in the areas of diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography and vascular technology.

Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography The mission of the JRC-DMS and its sponsoring organizations is to cooperate to establish, maintain, and promote appropriate standards of quality for educational programs in diagnostic medical sonography and to provide recognition for educational programs that meet or exceed the standards.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the largest programmatic/specialized accreditation in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits more than 2000 educational programs in twenty-one health science occupations across the United States and Canada.

For more information about earning potential and work environment for sonographers, visit the Inside Scoop.



Ped MV Dys2



Mitral Valve Displasia

Child Getting an Echo

Parasternal Short Axis

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