Besides performing a physical exam and listening to your symptoms, your physician may order some tests to find out whether you have heart disease . These tests also can help determine the severity of your condition.
Also known as an ECG or EKG, this test measures the heart's electrical activity as it beats. The test can indicate irregular heartbeats, heart muscle damage, circulation problems in the coronary arteries, and enlargement of the heart.
Also known as a treadmill test or exercise ECG, this test records the heart's electrical movement while you exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike. This test can identify heart strain or circulation problems related to exercise.
This test transforms sound waves into pictures that show the heart's shape, size, and movement. The sound waves also are used to determine how much blood the heart pumps out when it contracts.
This shows the movement of the heart muscle as blood flows through the heart. For this procedure, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein (usually in the arm), and then a camera records how much of the material the heart muscle takes in.
Also known as angiography or arteriography, an angiogram displays an x-ray of circulation problems and blockages in the coronary arteries. To get these pictures, a doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) into an artery in an arm or leg and into the heart. The doctor then injects fluid that can appear on an x-ray into the tube, and technicians film the heart and blood vessels as the heart pumps.
This convenient, non-invasive test detects calcium deposits in the heart's arteries. It is a form of computerized tomography (better known as CT) that scans the heart and then slices the image into sections. This allows your doctor to check for the presence of "hard" or calcified plaque in the heart's arteries. Hard plaque has been shown to be a predictor of heart disease and heart attack. Research has indicated that a Heart Scan may also identify a risk of heart attack in adults who are otherwise healthy and don't have the usual risk factors for heart disease. Find out how to schedule a heart scan at St. Joseph's Hospital.
This monitor allows your physician to review your heart's activity for a 24-48 hour period. The monitor records each individual heartbeat. In your physician's office, ECG patches and wires are applied to your chest and fastened with tape, then attached to the monitor, which is the size of a large portable cassette recorder. You'll receive a diary to record any symptoms that occur during the next 1-2 days. Your physician may recommend this type of testing if you experience dizziness, palpitations, irregular heartbeats, or other symptoms in your daily life, but which are not present during your examination.