A variety of cardiac monitoring procedures are used to determine the cause of unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or rapid, irregular heartbeats. These tests evaluate the heart’s electrical activity, indicate the thickness of the walls of the heart chambers, help determine how well medications are working, and provide other important data on the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Cardiac monitoring systems include:
An EKG is a simple test that provides a tracing of your heart’s electrical activity.
A Holter Monitor monitors your heart’s electrical activity for a period of up to two weeks. The information from the monitor is then scanned and given to your physician.
Graded Exercise Test
Often referred to as a treadmill test, this tests how well your heart can tolerate exercise. This test is performed with your physician present so he or she can best explain the results of the test to you.
Nuclear Graded Exercise Test
Also called a “myoview” study or test, this is a combined graded exercise test and nuclear study. The objective of this test is to see how well you heart muscle functions during exercise and to see if there is adequate circulation to the heart at rest and at peak exercise.
The Echo Lab, part of cardiology services, also performs several exams.
This is an ultrasound test of the heart. By using sound waves, we can image the heart and look at heart motion as well as determine how all the heart valves are working.
To find out more on how your heart works, check out “The Heart: An On-line Exploration.”
Trans Esophageal Echocardiography
This is a specialized procedure that allows the physician to see the heart chambers very clearly. A flexible tube (probe) with a transducer at its tip is used. The probe is guided down the patient’s throat and into his or her esophagus (food pipe). Because the probe is closer to the patient’s heart, this procedure provides more detailed pictures.
A specialized, graded exercise test that also includes taking echo images of the heart before and after exercise.
Computed tomography (commonly referred to as a CT scan) is an X-ray procedure in which a computer is used to produce a detailed, cross-sectional image. St. Francis offers the latest technology in cardiovascular imaging with the 64-slice computed tomography that produces an undistorted image—rapidly. This advanced method provides physicians with a three-dimensional view of the anatomical structure of the heart, which, for some patients, can provide an alternative to cardiac catheterization.