Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a way to take images from inside the human body through the use of high-frequency sound waves. The reflected sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Obstetric ultrasound refers to the specialized use of sound waves to visualize and thus determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her embryo or fetus.
Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body's internal organs, including but not limited to the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs and enable physicians to see blood flow and heart valve functions. This can help to diagnose a variety of heart conditions and to assess damage after a heart attack or other illness.