If you ever experience chest pain and breathlessness, it’s highly likely that your doctor will recommend cardiac testing to check your heart’s condition. Based on the results of these tests, your doctor will advise the best treatment plan for your condition.
The following are some of the main types of cardiac tests and what you can expect from each one:
This type of cardiac test involves the insertion of a small tube into an artery. The catheter is then threaded through to the coronary arteries surrounding your heart.
The radiologist will inject a special dye into your bloodstream. The dye will highlight areas of your heart and surrounding blood vessels, and an X-ray machine will take pictures for your physician to analyze.
An echocardiogram is a type of sonogram – it uses sound waves to capture images of the structure of your heart and see if there are any irregularities. A probe will record the sound waves, and the resultant images will be displayed on a computer screen.
During a “stress test” echocardiogram, your heart will be monitored while your body is at rest and while you are exerting effort. The purpose of this is to find out how your heart responds to physical stress. This test is often recommended for patients who experience chest pain and/or breathlessness only when exerting effort.
In the test, you will be asked to use a treadmill or a stationary bike. If you are unable to do so, you will be given dobutamine to make your heart mimic activity as if you are moving.
Another type of echocardiogram is the transesophageal echocardiogram. A probe will be inserted into your throat and down your chest. The tiny camera at the end of the probe will take pictures of your heart. With the esophagus being so close to your heart, unhindered by the chest wall, this method can produce clear pictures of your heart.
This is probably the most commonly recommended cardiac test for all heart conditions. An electrocardiograph is a machine that records your heart’s rhythm via electrodes placed strategically on your chest, arms, or legs. The results of the recording will appear on paper, and it will show whether there are any issues with the heart muscle or if there is an oxygen shortage.
If the doctor suspects that you have heart rhythm problems, the physician may recommend a Holter monitor test. In this test, you will be asked to wear a portable EKG machine for up to 48 hours. The machine will record your heart rate and its rhythm.
Cardiac Testing in South Carolina
Our experienced team at SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions in adults, including heart conditions. We emphasize the importance of preventive care, educating our patients on how they can prevent conditions and ailments.
We work hard to make every appointment a positive experience for our patients. You may reach out to us at (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment now online. We have been serving patients in South Carolina for over 30 years, and we would love to help you live life to the fullest.