Echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. The picture is much more detailed than an X-ray image and involves no radiation exposure. A trained sonographer performs the test, then your physician interprets the results. An instrument that transmits high-frequency sound waves called a transducer is placed on your ribs near the breastbone and directed toward the heart. The transducer picks up the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them as electrical impulses. The echocardiography machine converts these impulses into moving pictures of the heart.
An electrophysiological study (EPS) is a procedure that is performed to diagnose arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms. This procedure is used to determine the type and location of an arrhythmia and uses insulated, small narrow tubes placed inside the heart to study the heart’s electrical system.
With these scans, a small amount of radioactive chemical is injected into your vein. These chemicals highlight the heart muscle and chambers in pictures taken with a special camera. These pictures allow your doctor to see if there are any areas of your heart that are not working properly.
X-rays are taken after a colorless liquid dye is injected into an artery to locate the narrowing, occlusions and other abnormalities of specific arteries. This is done during a cardiac catheterization.
A small narrow tube is guided through a vein or artery in the heart. A contrast agent is given through the catheter and moving x-rays are made as the dye travels through the heart. This test shows heart size, measures pressures within the heart and identifies the location and severity of blockages in the coronary arteries.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
A small instrument that transmits high-frequency sound waves called a transducer is passed down the esophagus to provide a clearer image of the heart structure.
Exercise stress test
This test is given while the patient walks on a treadmill to determine if exercise brings on changes to heart rhythm or causes chest pain. A stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease and to determine safe levels of exercise following a heart attack or heart surgery.
Chemical stress test
Like an exercise stress test, specific medications are given before a patient walks on a treadmill to allow more in-depth study of the cardiac response to exercise.
Tilt table test
A test performed while the patient is connected to ECG and blood pressure monitors and secured on a table that tilts in different directions. This determines if the patient is prone to sudden drops in blood pressure or slow pulse rates.
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