Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)


What is Transthoracic Echocardiography Testing?

A transthoracic echocardiogram, or TTE, is the most common type of echocardiogram we do for people with heart conditions. This test gives your doctor a good view of your overall heart health.

Transthoracic means on the chest wall. An echocardiogram, or echo, is an ultrasound test of the heart.

How TTE Works

During a TTE, we use sound waves to create computerized outlines of your heart and its attached blood vessels. Your doctor can then check your heart’s chambers, valves and blood vessels for abnormalities and for any extra fluid building up around your heart.

The TTE procedure takes about an hour. You do not have to prepare for it. There are no significant side effects to this minimally invasive test.

World-Class Care

Our Comprehensive Transthoracic Echocardiogram

When you get a TTE at an Aurora Health Care location, you can look forward to:

  • Advanced 4-D imaging: We are one of the first health systems in the world – and the first ever in Wisconsin – to offer innovative 4-D ultrasound imaging systems (moving images added to 3-D technology) to conduct our TTEs. Better images equal more accurate diagnoses and less need for further testing.
  • Timely appointments: We will schedule your TTE test as quickly as possible.
  • Caring diagnostic professionals: Our experienced technicians and staff will check your comfort level and explain testing procedures throughout the TTE process.

What to Expect

What Happens During a Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)?

We will perform your TTE at an Aurora hospital, clinic or emergency room. You can eat and drink normally before the test. There are no special preparations required. Your TTE could take up to an hour.

During Your Test

For your exam, we will ask you to remove your clothes from the waist up and change into a hospital gown. You can expect:

  1. Heart monitoring: Your Aurora technician will attach electrodes to your chest so we can monitor your heart rate and your heart’s electrical activity.
  2. Imaging procedures: You will lie down on an exam table. Your cardiac sonographer (ultrasound expert) may have you move into different physical positions and give you special breathing instructions so he/she can get the best possible images of your heart and related structures.
  3. Ultrasound process: Your cardiac sonographer obtains images by applying a special gel to your chest, then moving a transducer (ultrasound wand) gently over your heart area. These images are transferred to a computer screen for your doctor to review.
  4. Further testing: If further images of your heart need to be obtained or certain structures need to be explored in greater detail, your doctor may ask you to undergo a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). Learn more about transesophageal echocardiograms.

After Your Test

In many cases, we are able to send your TTE results to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will get in touch with you to discuss the test outcome and to recommend further testing or a treatment plan.


We offer transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs) at 33 inpatient and outpatient laboratories.


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