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Heart ultrasound scan. Elderly male patient undergoing an ultrasound scan of the heart (echocardiography). The scanner (centre) is linked to a hand-held probe which is held against the patient's skin. The probe contains a crystal that is made to vibrate and emit a high frequency sound pulse. The probe also acts as a receiver, detecting the echo of each pulse as it is reflected from the body's internal structures, in this case the heart. An image "slice" through the organ is thus created, and viewed on a screen (upper frame). Heart defects such as congenital heart disease and disorders of the heart valves can be detected in this way.
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