Cardiac Diagnostic Testing
Depending upon the symptoms, many tests are available to aid in making an accurate diagnosis. Here are some of the more common diagnostic tests we regularly perform.
Coronary angiography involves a small tube being inserted into an artery, which is threaded through to the coronary arteries near your heart. Then, a special dye is injected through the catheter into your bloodstream. The dye lets us see the heart and coronary arteries with X-ray pictures.
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood pressure monitoring involves wearing a blood pressure unit for up to 24 hours. It regularly takes your blood pressure and measures your heart rate.
Blood tests can help diagnose a condition or monitor someone who has already been diagnosed with a heart condition. They can be used to monitor the effects of medication. Blood tests can also detect levels of minerals in the blood which may indicate a possible cardiac condition.
Echocardiogram (Echo) Tests
An echocardiogram uses sound waves to study the structure of your heart and how your heart and valves are working. A probe sends out and records sound waves, producing a moving image of your heart on a computer.
Electrocardiograph (EKG OR ECG) Tests
An electrocardiograph is the most common test for heart conditions. An electrocardiograph machine records your heart’s rhythm onto paper through sticky electrodes placed on your chest, arms and legs. The recording can show if the heart muscle is damaged or short of oxygen. An exercise tolerance test (ETT) involves two EKG scans, one when you are exercising and one when you are resting.. This test helps to show how your heart copes under stress.
EP Study (Electrophysiology Study)
An EP study measures the electrical activity of your heart. If you have abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or palpitations we may prescribe this test. Similar to an angiography, fine tubes (electrode catheters) are fed into a vein and/or artery usually in the groin. They are then gently moved into the heart, where they stimulate the heart and record your heart’s electrical activity.
A MUGA test is an outpatient imaging test that is used to evaluate the overall pumping function of the heart. It helps identify any abnormalities of the left ventricle. The test includes the injection of radioactive dye followed by taking three sets of images of the heart.
Myocardial Perfusion Scans
These tests help determine how blood flows to the heart. A dye is injected to highlight the blood vessels in your heart. A large machine then creates pictures of your heart by scanning your chest and identifying the dye. This test can also be used before and after exercise to see how the flow of blood to the heart changes with exercise.
Tilt Table Test
The tilt table test may be used if you have episodes of fainting to help learn if these could be related to your heart. You lie on a special table, which can be angled so you lie down or stand up. You will be attached to a heart and blood pressure monitor which records how your heart rate and blood pressure respond to changes in position. During the test you may have an intravenous (IV) needle in your arm so you can be given medication.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
This test may be used when your physician needs more detailed information than a routine echocardiogram may provide. A small ultrasound transducer is placed down into the esophagus to capture detailed images of the heart’s structure and valves.
Vascular testing evaluates the health of your blood vessels at rest and sometimes during exercise. Cardiac Partners offers the following vascular studies:
- Carotid ultrasound: This test measures blood flow through the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain.
- Abdominal aortic ultrasound: This test helps evaluate the aorta below the chest to detect for aneurysms (dilated arteries) and normal blood flow.
- Venous ultrasound: This ultrasound test examines the veins in the arms and legs for blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and varicose vein disorders.
- Arterial ultrasound: This test can help detect and analyze artery blockages that can affect blood flow delivery.
Depending on the results of your heart and vascular test(s) and a confirmed diagnosis, we will work with you to discuss treatment plans, that may involve medication, lifestyle changes and/or a surgical procedure.