Non-Invasive Cardiac Diagnostic Testing Procedures
Echocardiography (ECHO): An echocardiogram is a sound wave picture that records the movement of the heart valves and chamber walls. It can be useful in finding and evaluating abnormal heart valves, chamber enlargement, abnormal openings between chambers, changes in the fluid level in the sac around the heart and other abnormalities.
Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG): A record of the electrical activity of the heart, the ECG provides important information concerning damage, abnormalities and the effects of drugs or devices to the different parts of the heart. It is of value in diagnosing cases of abnormal cardiac rhythm and heart disease.
Electrophysiology: An electrophysiology study is a test that records the electrical activity and electrical pathways of the heart. It can uncover the cause of any irregular heart rhythm and help determine the best treatment options.
Holter Monitor: A portable cardiac Holter monitor affords physicians the ability to monitor adults who may have abnormalities of the heart's rhythm. Such abnormalities can make a person faint, feel nauseated or have a seizure. The individual wears the device around his/her waist or hip with EKG leads applied to the chest area. As the person resumes normal activities, information registers on the monitor. This enables 24-hour monitoring either at home or in the hospital. The physician is then able to analyze the results.
Nuclear Scanning: Nuclear scanning involves a special type of X-ray in which a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein. As the radioactive material moves through the heart chambers and/or heart muscle, a nuclear scanning camera records images providing important information on damage and heart health.
Thallium Stress Test: While exercise is performed, radioactive material called thallium circulates to the heart. A camera records blood flow through the heart. If your doctor has scheduled a thallium stress test, he or she is looking for more detailed information about the flow of blood to your heart and your body's response to monitored exercise.
Stress Test: Also called a treadmill or exercise tolerance test, this exam by a cardiologist records the patient's cardiovascular response to exercise by measuring heart rate, blood pressure and EKG readings. During the test, you'll walk on a treadmill at gradually increasing speeds and angle of incline. The test helps determine how fit and safe exercise is for an individual, or whether a heart problem exists. A stress test can reveal problems that may not appear at rest.
Tilt Table Testing: A simple test that helps the doctor pinpoint the cause of fainting, this exam checks how changes in body position can affect blood pressure. The patient is placed on a table that is slowly tilted upwards. The test tries to re-create fainting symptoms, while blood pressure and heart rate are monitored.