Non-Invasive Cardiac Testing
Diagnostic testing in our Echocardiography Lab allows visualization of heart valves, cardiac function and blood flow within the heart. Stress testing with nuclear imaging, electrocardiology and echocardiography provides accurate, non-invasive evaluation of coronary heart disease.
St. Vincent’s Regional Heart & Vascular Center’s Non-Invasive Diagnostic Testing Lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission For The Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL), demonstrating that St. Vincent’s is committed to the performance of quality echocardiography and to meeting nationally recognized standards.
Non-Invasive Cardiac Testing includes:
- Electrocardiography (EKGs )
- Regular Exercise Stress Testing and Nuclear Stress Testing
- Holter Monitoring: 24 -48 hour or 30-day testing
- Stress or Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a noninvasive test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart, as detected by electrodes attached to the outer surface of the skin.
Exercise Stress Testing:
The electrical activity from the electrocardiogram can be recorded while a person is exercising, usually on a treadmill, to better evaluate the patient’s problems. Stress tests are used to diagnose the narrowing of coronary arteries.
Nuclear Stress Testing (Nuclear Perfusion Studies):
The healthcare provider will inject a radioactive substance into one of your veins and then take pictures of your heart as you exercise on a treadmill. A computer creates pictures of your heart by tracking the radioactive material as it travels through the bloodstream to the heart. These non-invasive tests show how well blood is flowing to various portions of the heart muscle, and detect the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD) that is producing partial obstructions.
A Holter monitor is a portable EKG device that records your heart rhythm over time, outside the hospital or doctor's office. Whereas a regular EKG examines your heart's electrical activity for a few minutes, the Holter monitor examines changes over a sustained period of time-usually a 24- to 48-hour period-while you go about your daily activities and even while you sleep. Doctors use it to evaluate symptoms that come and go and that might be related to heart-rhythm changes.
An echocardiogram (echo) uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a graphic outline of the heart's movement.
A stress echo combines the echo exam with a treadmill to walk on or a bike to pedal, or medicine that shows the effect of exercise on the heart.
A transthoracic echocardiogram of the heart is performed by a cardiologist. The most common type of echo performed, the transthoracic echo is performed by placing the probe on the outside of the chest wall with a gel-like substance to transmit sound waves into the body.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo test that provides a close look at the heart's valves , chambers and blood flow without interference from the ribs or lungs. TEE is often used when the results from standard echo tests are not sufficient, or when your doctor wants a closer look at your heart.
The Non-Invasive Lab is in operation from 7:30am-4pm. For more information, call 203-576-5353.
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