Coronary angiography involves a small tube being inserted into an artery and threaded through to coronary arteries near your heart. A special dye is injected through the catheter into your bloodstream. Using the dye as a highlight, X-ray pictures of the heart and coronary arteries are taken.
Myocardial Perfusion Scans
These tests are used to see how blood flows to the heart. A radioisotope is injected to highlight the blood vessels in your heart. A large machine then creates pictures of your heart by scanning your chest and looking for the radioisotope. This test can also be used before and after exercise to see how the flow of blood to the heart changes with exercise.
Echocardiogram (echo) Tests
This test uses sound waves to study the structure of your heart and how the heart and valves are working. A probe sends out and records these sound waves, producing a moving image of your heart on a computer.
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood pressure monitoring involves wearing a blood pressure unit for up to 24 hours. This unit regularly takes your blood pressure and measures your heart rate.
Electrocardiograph (ECG) Tests
An electrocardiograph is the most common test for heart conditions. An electrocardiograph machine records your heart’s rhythm onto paper through sticky electrodes which are placed on your chest, arms and legs. The recording will show if the heart muscle is damaged or short of oxygen.
Tilt Table Test
The tilt table test is used if you have episodes of fainting, to find out if these could be related to your heart. You lie on a special table, which can be angled so you lie down or stand up and you will be attached to a heart and blood pressure monitor which record how your heart rate and blood pressure respond to changes in position. During the test you may have an intravenous (IV) needle in your arm so you can be given medication.
Blood tests can help to diagnose a condition or to monitor someone who has already been diagnosed with a heart condition. Blood tests can also be taken to monitor the effects of medication as well as the levels of minerals in the blood.
Electrophysiological studies (EPS) are used to measure the electrical activity of your heart. If you have abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or palpitations you may need this test. Similar to an angiography, fine tubes (electrode catheters) are fed into a vein and/or artery usually in the groin. They are then gently moved into the heart, where they stimulate the heart and record your heart’s electrical activity.
“It’s reassuring to be seen by a cardiologist who knows my history well, pays detailed attention to any findings, and who responds to my questions fully. I could not ask for better care.”