There are a number of tests that Cardiologists use to diagnose cardiovascular disease.
- EKG – A test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. This includes the rate and regularity of beats as well as the size and position of the chambers, any damage to the heart, and effects of drugs or devices to regulate the heart
- Exercise Stress Test – An exercise treadmill stress test helps determine how well the heart responds to the increase in workload caused by exercise. While you’re exercising on a treadmill, your EKG, blood pressure, hear rate and oxygen levels are monitored allowing your doctor to detect changes. These can be suggestive of blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart.
- Transthoracic Echo – Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to produce an image of the heart’s structure and function, to evaluate the walls and the valves of the heart as well as to measure pressures in the different chambers of the heart. This test takes 30 minutes.
- Stress Echo – An echocardiogram is first done with the patient resting. The patient is then asked to walk on the treadmill and another echocardiogram is done immediately after peak exercise. If an area of the heart does not pump as it should during exercise, this can indicate that it is not receiving enough blood because of a blocked or narrowed artery. This test takes approximately 45 minutes.
- Transesophageal Echo – A long, slender, flexible tube called endoscope is inserted into the esophagus, to produce an image of the heart. Transesophageal echocardiography produces a highly detailed image of the heart because there are no internal structures to obstruct the view. This procedure is done in the hospital with sedation.
- Nuclear Stress Testing – This test uses radioisotopes to determine if there are any significant blockages in the heart arteries. Patients either exercise on the treadmill or those who cannot exercise receive pharmacological agents to stress the heart. Radio-isotopes are injected and images of the heart are obtained. Heart & Vascular Care, has the only D-SPECT™ camera in northern Virginia. Only a handful of medical facilities in the United States offer this transformational technology.