TEST AND PROCEDURES

ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY (ECHO)


This is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create a moving picture of the heart and is performed by a cardiac sonographer. The images produced allows for the measurement of all four heart chambers, the heart valves, the blood vessels entering and leave the heart as well as the sack around the heart (the pericardium).
An echocardiogram is a safe test and involves no radiation exposure. The test usually takes about 30 minutes and no preparation is required. You will be asked to remove clothing from the waist up and lie on an examination bed. A gown is provided for comfort. Electrodes and an ultrasound probe are placed on the chest so that the sonographer can acquire the images.

STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAM (STRESS ECHO)


Cardiac stress testing is used to evaluate how well the heart performs under stress in a controlled clinical environment. The purpose of the test is to help the cardiologist evaluate how well the heart muscle responds to exercise and identify areas of inadequate blood flow. It is also used to evaluate the heart following a heart attack, stent or recent cardiac surgery.

Preparation


- Please bring comfortable clothing and shoes for exercising on the treadmill. Shower facilities are available for your convenience.

- Please do not apply lotions, moisturiser or oils to the chest. Fasting is not required

- Take all medications as usual unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

- If you are asthmatic, please bring inhalers if required.


Whats involved


  • An ECG (electrocardiograph) is applied to the chest using electrodes to allow for continuous monitoring.
  • Pre-exercise imaging is acquired: the sonographer will take resting ultrasound images of your heart.
  • You will then be asked to exercise on the treadmill until you have reached your peak. Your ECG and blood pressure are monitored and recorded continuously throughout the test. Please notify the sonographer if you feel chest pain/chest tightness, shortness of breath or if you are unable to continue or if you feel unwell.
  • Post-exercise imaging is acquired: the sonographer will ask you to lie on the bed and repeat ultrasound imaging.
  • You will be monitored until your heart rate returns to its normal resting rate.
  • This test takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Your test results will be explained to you by the cardiologist during this visit, who may suggest further testing or treatment if required.

  • HOLTER MONITOR


    A holter monitor is a small portable device that provides a continuous ECG over a 24 hour or 48 hour period. It is useful for observing any abnormalities with the heart rate and heart rhythm which may not be detected on a standard ECG which is not always long enough to identify a potential problem.

    Four electrodes will be applied to the chest, which are connected to a small box. This device is usually worn around your neck with a lanyard and can easily be hidden under clothing. You will not be able to shower/bathe whilst wearing the device however all other regular activity is encouraged. A patient diary will be provided during the first appointment to record any symptoms that you may have.

    Once the monitor is removed, the doctor will report the results, which will either be discussed with you at your next appointment with the cardiologist or sent through to your GP.

    Preparation


    - Please do not apply lotions, moisturiser or oils to the chest.

    - Avoid using electric blankets whilst wearing the device.

    - Take medications as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

    - There is no need to fast.

    AMBULATORY BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR (ABPM)


    An ABPM is a small battery-operated device used to measure the blood pressure over a 24-hour period at regular intervals. A blood pressure cuff is attached to your arm and the recorder will automatically inflate the cuff and record the data. Readings are taken half hourly during the day and hourly at night. Please note that you are unable to shower/bathe whilst wearing the device, however normal daily activities are encouraged. The monitor can be slightly noisy if you are planning to have business meetings or presentations whilst wearing the monitor. The device is removed the following day and the results are either discussed at your next appointment with the cardiologist or sent through to your GP.

    EVENT MONITORING


    An event monitor is a small, battery-powered portable device that records your heart rhythm for approximately 35 seconds. You can have the device for a few days or up to 3 weeks, the duration is determined by the cardiologist/GP and normal daily activity is encouraged. A patient diary will be provided at your first appointment and this needs to be filled out each time the device is used. You need to carry the device with you and it is to be used when symptoms occur. These recordings are then stored on the device, which are downloaded once the device has been returned. The results are discussed with you at your next appointment with the cardiologist or the report is sent through to your GP.

    Preparation

    - Take all medications as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

    - Instructions on how to use the device will be given by the technician

    ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (ECG)


    An ECG is performed to assess your heart rate, heart rhythm and electrical pathway. Electrodes and ECG leads are placed on the chest, arms and legs. No preparation is required. The test takes approximately 10 minutes.

    PACEMAKER CHECK


    A pacemaker check is performed at regular intervals (approximately 6 – 12 months) on patients with pacemakers and takes approximately 15 minutes. These visits are very important.

    During the check-up, any abnormal heart rhythms detected or treated by the device are determined. Proper lead function and battery status are checked and sometimes the pacemaker’s functions are adjusted. No preparation is necessary. Please bring all the relevant medical records to the appointment.