Patients experiencing cardiac-related symptoms without having a heart attack often visit Enloe Medical Center’s Cardiac Diagnostics department for noninvasive testing. The skilled staff of Enloe Medical Center's Cardiac Diagnostics department facilitate a variety of tests to help determine a patient's symptoms.
Common Cardiac Diagnostic Tests Include
Also called or ECGs, electrocardiograms are performed by placing electrode patches on the chest and extremities and connecting them to a machine. The sensors pick up electrical activity in the heart and send the results to the printer and a monitor. A lot of information can be obtained from an electrocardiogram, including heart rate and heart rhythm. It can help determine if a heart attack is occurring and reveal where the damage is located.
An echocardiogram, also known as an ECHO, is a relatively simple test in which high-frequency sound waves are bounced off the heart to create an image of its structures, somewhat like the sonar a submarine uses underwater. Using a sound probe placed at various locations on the chest, the doctor can see an image of the pumping action of the heart and how the valves are working.
Exercise Stress Tests
Also known as “treadmill tests,” exercise stress tests are used to look for coronary heart disease or blocked coronary arteries. It can be used to asses the cause of chest pain. Patients undergoing this test walk on a treadmill machine while a technician monitors their symptoms and blood pressure, and an electrocardiogram. If patients cannot exercise, the heart is "stressed" with drugs that mimic the effect of exercise on the treadmill.
Exercise echocardiography is another type of stress test combining exercise and echocardiogram pictures to show the contraction of the heart. Like exercise stress tests, drugs can be used to for patients who cannot exercise.
Ambulatory Electrocardiographic Monitoring (Heart Monitoring)
This monitoring includes Holter monitoring and event monitoring. Both these tests provide the doctor with information about how the patient's heart responds during normal daily activities over a period of time. These tests can be done for several days or longer depending on the information the doctor needs.
Nuclear Perfusion Tests
These tests use a small amount of a radioactive agent to study blood flow, how the chambers of the heart are functioning and how big they are. These tests may be used to monitor the progress of disease in patients. They may be done with an exercise stress test.
Testing leads to the next step in your care, whether that is further testing, treatment or simple relief that comes when a test shows the heart is functioning as it should.
Enloe Heart Program, Cardiac Diagnostics Department
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Hours: Outpatient testing is available by appointment Monday through Friday. A pediatric clinic is held weekly by pediatric cardiologists from Yuba City, San Francisco and Davis. Inpatient testing is offered everyday, 24 hours a day.