An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of the heart. Echocardiography helps to diagnose cardiovascular disease. In fact, it is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests for heart disease. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart, its pumping capacity and the location and extent of any tissue damage. It not only allows doctors to evaluate the heart valves, but it can detect abnormalities in the pattern of the blood flow.