This procedure uses sound waves to study the shape of the heart’s chambers and to analyze blood flow through the valves. A special transducer is placed on your chest to assess blood flow and to measure how sound waves are changed when in contact with your heart. This creates images of your heart and its functioning.
The electrocardiogram measures the rhythmic electrical impulses made when your heart beats. Your pattern is compared to standard patterns known by the reader, and a diagnosis can be made about your heart’s electrical status.
When a longer report of your heart’s electrical activity is required for study, your cardiologist will order a Holter monitor study to record your heart’s rhythm for 24 hours or more. You will have small measuring devices placed on your chest, and will wear a small device that will record your heart’ electrical beats. Sometimes you will be asked to note when you have symptoms of heart irregularity so your cardiologist can specifically look at that portion of the recording. You will return the device when the study is complete, and your cardiologist will review the recording. You will be called later with the results, and further advice will be provided based on the study’s findings.
Cardiac catheterization is a frequently performed study that helps your cardiologist understand your heart and its functions regarding blood flow. It involves placing a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck and threading it to your heart. X-ray images of the heart are taken using an injected contrast dye to evaluate the heart’s blood vessels, chambers, and valves. Sometimes this test reveals an urgent problem that require intervention.
Sometimes a standard electrocardiogram cannot fully evaluate the heart’s function. In that case, another test can be performed with a measuring device placed in your esophagus (the tube that runs from your mouth to your stomach). Measurement from this location produces more detailed information about how electrical activity moves through your heart, so more complex cardiac problems can be identified. Because the TEE procedure is more complicated than a standard electrocardiogram, a brief hospital stay may be required.