What Colors Are Bad On An Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is important for diagnosing heart problems. It shows us how the heart looks and works.

But certain colors can indicate health problems, like when red and blue mix or when green and yellow are present in an echocardiogram.

This article will explain the meaning of these bad colors and we will focus on the echocardiogram colors that often show serious problems. This will help you understand this test better.

What Is An Echocardiogram?

The echocardiogram is a painless test that uses sound waves to create detailed pictures of your heart. It can diagnose heart conditions, such as valve problems, weak heart muscles, and congenital heart defects.

During an echocardiogram, a technician will put a probe on your chest and sometimes in your esophagus.

The transducer sends out sound waves that bounce off your heart structures and create echoes. These echoes are then processed by a computer to create images of your heart.

Colors in the Echocardiogram

Echocardiography uses different colors to show how blood moves in the heart. This is called color flow Doppler imaging.

Here are the common color codes used in echocardiograms.


The blue color on an echocardiogram signifies blood flow moving away from the transducer (the ultrasound probe). It essentially tells you the direction of the blood within the heart and blood vessels.

Here’s a breakdown of what the blue color typically indicates:

Normal Flow

Healthy hearts usually have blue veins and chambers. The blue color is seen in areas where blood flows towards the heart, such as the right atrium and ventricle.

Seeing a good amount of blue in these areas is a positive sign, indicating proper blood circulation.

Slowed Flow

A deeper shade of blue or a larger area of blue might suggest slower blood flow. This could be due to various reasons, such as:

  • Weakened heart muscles: When the heart doesn’t contract forcefully enough, blood can pool and flow slower, appearing more blue on the echo.
  • Narrowed arteries: If blood vessels are partially blocked, blood flow through them will be slower, showing up as more blue in the affected area.
  • Valvular stenosis: When heart valves are narrowed, they restrict blood flow, leading to a larger area of blue upstream of the valve.


The red color on an echocardiogram indicates blood flowing toward the ultrasound probe. It’s like seeing the spotlight shine on blood racing towards your heart.

This flow typically represents oxygenated blood returning from the body through the arteries.

  • Positive indication: Seeing plenty of red color suggests strong pumping action by your heart, ensuring that oxygen-rich blood gets back to the heart efficiently.
  • Location matters. Where red appears is also important. For example, red around the aorta is expected, while seeing it in unexpected places like near the heart walls might raise concerns.
  • Intensity matters: A bright red color often means the blood is moving fast towards your heart. This can be good in some situations but might also suggest complications in others.

Interpreting specific red color patterns and potential anomalies is best left to your doctor. They can analyze the context of the red in your echo along with other factors to reach a proper diagnosis.

So, while seeing a red color on your echocardiogram is generally a good sign.


The yellow color is used in some echocardiograms to highlight specific tissues or structures in the heart.

These include the heart valves, chambers, and walls. Highlighting these structures with yellow helps to distinguish them from the surrounding blood flow and makes it easier to spot any abnormalities.

For instance, a yellow mass could indicate the presence of a tumor or calcification. Color Doppler echocardiography is a type of echocardiogram that shows the direction and speed of blood flow using color.

Yellow is sometimes used to show fast blood flow, usually in arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart.

However, the color scheme can be different depending on the machine and settings, so yellow might not always mean fast flow.

Don’t forget to read : Sugar And Psoriasis


The green color is like a caution light. It means the blood flow is turbulent or abnormal. It can be turbulent, which means the blood is swirling or eddying instead of smoothly flowing.

This can be a sign of something not working quite right, like a leaky valve, a hole in the heart, or even a blood clot.

The presence of green can be a sign of various underlying conditions, including:

  • Heart valve defects: Leaky valves (regurgitation) or narrowed valves (stenosis) can create turbulent flow, which shows up as green on the echocardiogram.
  • Holes in the heart (septal defects): Blood can flow abnormally between the heart chambers because of these defects. The echocardiogram can show that the blood appears green.
  • Cardiomyopathy: This condition weakens the heart muscle. Sometimes, it can cause turbulent flow. Turbulent flow shows up as green on the echocardiogram.
  • Blood clots: If a blood clot forms in the heart, it can disrupt blood flow and create turbulence, which can appear green on the echocardiogram.
Bad Colors on an Echocardiogram

Bad Colors on an Echocardiogram

As I mentioned earlier, colors can be associated with potential issues, depending on the context that includes:

Red and blue mixing

This can indicate a right-to-left shunt, where oxygenated and deoxygenated blood mix abnormally. This can be a sign of a congenital heart defect.


While not entirely “bad,” it’s best investigated as it can indicate regurgitation (backflow) or septal defects (holes in the heart).


This one raises alarm as it may suggest tumors, masses, or calcification, potentially impacting heart function.

Additional abnormal color patterns

Black areas

Can indicate blood clots or thrombi, potentially causing blockages and affecting blood flow.

Bright white areas 

May signify increased blood flow turbulence or areas of high velocity, sometimes associated with certain conditions.

Must Read: Prediabetes ICD-9

Wrap Up

So there you have it. Decoding the colors on an echocardiogram helps you understand heart health.

Blue means normal blood flow towards the heart. Red means efficient oxygenated blood return. Yellow helps identify specific structures.

Green is a caution for turbulence. Mixing red and blue or having too much green and yellow may indicate possible issues.

It’s important to interpret these colors in context. This article helps you recognize the good and bad colors in your echocardiogram.

If you have any concerns about your heart health, talk to your cardiologist about whether an echocardiogram is right for you.


Why might I need an echocardiogram?

Your doctor might recommend an echo if you have symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeat.

It can also diagnose or monitor various heart conditions like valve problems, heart defects, cardiomyopathy, and even pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart).

What happens during an echocardiogram?

For a TTE, you’ll lie on your back while the technician moves the transducer across your chest. It’s painless and takes about 30-60 minutes.

What can I expect after an echocardiogram?

You can usually go home right away after the test. Your doctor will discuss the results with you within a few days, explaining any findings and recommending further steps if needed.

Dr. Clifton Morris
Dr. Clifton Morris

Meet Dr. Clifton Morris, MD. He's a highly accomplished medical professional with an impressive career. He graduated from University Of North Carolina in 1994

He's also a Senior Cardiometabolic Faculty at Baim Institute for Clinical Research.

He did his training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and specialized in Gastroenterology and Cardiac Ultrasound at Tricities Hospital..

Articles: 28