What is echocardiography imaging?
Echocardiography, also known as cardiac ultrasound, is a way to look at the heart and how it works. This simple, painless procedure is done the same way as an ultrasound of a fetus in someone who is pregnant.
Your child’s cardiologist might ask for an echocardiogram to check a heart murmur or other heart condition. This test lets doctors very accurately diagnose problems with the heart’s structure or function.
Learn more about what to expect with an echocardiogram.
What’s special about the experience at Seattle Children’s?
- Seattle Children’s does a huge volume of echocardiograms for babies and children — more than 1,000 every month.
- Through telemedicine, we also interpret about 1,500 echocardiograms each year done at remote hospitals around the region — Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.
- Luciana Young, director of the Echocardiography Laboratory, is a world-recognized pediatric cardiologist specializing in echocardiography.
- Our sonographers have special training to do echocardiograms for children of all ages. Many are also registered in doing fetal echocardiograms.
- With our partners at the University of Washington, we conduct research to advance the use of echocardiography so that children everywhere get the best possible care.
- Along with standard pediatric echocardiograms, we provide many specialized services. These services can give you and your child’s doctors more details about your child’s heart.
- Our sonographers do fetal echocardiograms, also called prenatal cardiac ultrasounds, which our cardiologists use to diagnose fetal heart defects.
- Seattle Children’s surgeons use transesophageal echocardiograms (TEEs) to guide their work during nearly all heart surgeries and sometimes other surgeries (called intraoperative TEE).
- We also use advanced options to look for subtle changes in the heart. Echocardiography with strain imaging helps your child’s doctor better understand how your child’s heart works and how certain medicines may affect their heart muscle. This allows us to tailor your child’s therapy. Three-dimensional (3-D) echocardiography helps us get details about the heart valves to guide treatment.
- To make care easier for you, we offer both standard and fetal echocardiography at many places around the region.
- Our cardiologists interpret fetal and pediatric echocardiograms done at many hospitals outside Seattle Children’s Hospital. This telemedicine option saves families the expense and time of travel and can be of great value for urgent newborn evaluations.
- Telemedicine echocardiograms can be done for children who are staying overnight in a hospital (inpatients) and for children who come to a hospital only for same-day services (outpatients).
- Your child’s echocardiogram will be sent to us digitally over the internet. A Seattle Children’s pediatric cardiologist who is an expert in echocardiography will review the images. Our doctors can diagnose much more accurately using a digital echocardiogram than they can using a still image sent in the mail. We will give results and recommendations to your child’s referring provider.
- With this technology, a newborn with a suspected heart condition in Kennewick no longer needs to be brought hundreds of miles to Seattle for a diagnosis. A child in Wenatchee with a heart murmur found in a sports physical doesn’t have to wait for their echocardiogram to be mailed to Seattle or for a cardiologist’s next regional visit.
- Whatever types of care your child needs, we will help your family through this experience. We will discuss your child’s imaging, condition and treatment options in ways you understand and involve you in every decision.
- Our Child Life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age.
- Seattle Children’s has many resources, from financial to spiritual, to support your child and your family and make the journey as smooth as possible.
- Read more about the supportive care we offer.
Scheduling an Appointment With the Heart Center
- If you would like a referral for Seattle Children’s Heart Center, talk to your child’s primary care provider.
- How to schedule an appointment at Seattle Children’s.
- If you already have an appointment, learn more about how to prepare.
- Learn about Heart Center resources such as useful links, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.
Who’s on the team?
We have more than two dozen pediatric sonographers, the most at any hospital in the region.
Janet Barnes, RDCS (AE, PE) (Central Washington)
Heidi Borchers, RDCS (AE, PE), RDMS (Seattle)
Viktoria Buina, RDCS (AE) (Seattle)
Brandy Clark, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Michele Clouse, DCS (AE, FE, PE) (Seattle)
Heidi Cuffee, DCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Judy Devine, RDCS (PE) (Seattle)
Ilona Dizon, DCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Alison Freeberg, DCS (AE, FE, PE) (South Sound)
Joey Goulding, RCCS RCS (Seattle)
Daniel Greene, DCS (AE, PE) (Central Washington
Jenni Hake, RDCS (AE, FE, PE) (South Sound)
Cheyenne Hobbs, RDCS (AE, PE) (Montana)
Matthew Johnson, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Mary Jordan, DCS (FE, PE) (Seattle)
Amber Kelly, DCS (AE), RCS (Montana)
Amie Majerus, RDCS (AE, PE), ACS (Montana)
Casey Marvin, DCS (AE, PE) (South Sound)
Kimberli Nichols, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Shelby Niehl, RDCS (AE, PE, FE) (South Sound)
Briana Olson, RDCS (AE, PE, FE) (Seattle)
Alex Raible, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Kayla Rauch, RDCS (FE, PE) (Alaska)
Danielle Saliba, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Letty Tiernan, RDCS (AE, FE, PE) (Alaska)
Erin Trent, DCS (AE, PE, FE) (Seattle)
Jessica Zinchuk, RDCS (AE, PE) (Seattle)
Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2515 for a referral, a second opinion or more information.
Providers, see how to refer a patient.
You may be offered a telehealth (virtual) appointment. Learn more.
Paying for Care
Learn about paying for care at Seattle Children’s, including insurance coverage, billing and financial assistance.