When is an echocardiogram necessary?

How often when there are no signs of heart problems?

Submitted by Rick from New Jersey on 04/23/2014

Dear Rick,
Unless you are being screened for an inherited condition such as a cardiomyopathy or participating in a research study, there is no reason to perform an echocardiogram if you are asymptomatic with a normal physical exam and normal ECG. Adding it to a routine history and physical provides no benefit. Indeed, adding an ECG to the routine pre-participation evaluation of athletes has been shown to be of no benefit. You should ask your doctor to justify it.