Diagnosing Heart Disease

Dr. and Patient

HVA Medical Group offers the full range of diagnostic and imaging services for heart disease.

Cardiac Catheterization

During this procedure, we insert a very small tube — a catheter — into a blood vessel through your arm, groin, or neck, and extend it to your heart. We inject contrast dye through the catheter shows how your heart’s blood vessels are working. If we discover a blockage, we can open it up by placing a tiny mesh tube known as a stent into the artery, eliminating the need for more invasive surgery.

Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT)

We use X-ray equipment to produce pictures of your coronary arteries so you can see if they are blocked or narrowed by plaque. The test result is known as your cardiac calcium score.


Also called an “echo,” this test checks how the valves and chambers of your heart are working. The test can also reveal the size of the heart and the thickness and movement of the heart wall. During an echocardiogram, a health care provider — typically a radiographer or sonographer —  uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create a moving picture of your heart. Echocardiograms are painless and noninvasive.


Often called an “EKG” or “ECG” for short, an electrocardiogram measures your heart’s electrical activity. It can reveal signs of heart disease and help predict a heart attack or confirm that a heart attack has occurred.

During an EKG, a health care technician places sensors on your chest, arms, and legs. The sensors are connected to an electrocardiogram machine, which creates a three-dimensional map of your heart’s electrical rhythm. You simply lie still while the map is made; EKGs are painless and noninvasive.

Exercise Stress Test

During this test — sometimes known as a treadmill test, exercise cardiac stress test, or ECST — we place sensors on your chest to record your heart as you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. We monitor and record your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and electrical activity, along with any symptoms you may experience, to look for indications of coronary artery disease and angina (chest pain caused by a shortage of oxygen reaching the heart muscle).  

Holter Monitoring or Ambulatory EKG

We use this test to record your heart’s electrical activity throughout the day. Unlike a regular EKG, which shows your heart’s activity at one moment in time, an ambulatory EKG shows us how your heart functions over a longer period of time and while you’re going about your daily routine.

During the test you wear a Holter or mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) monitor; these are portable devices with sensors that attach to your skin.

Implantable Loop Recorder

This device monitors the heart continuously for up to three years. We insert the loop recorder beneath your skin, and it records your heart rhythm and transmits the results back to us. It’s useful for capturing information about heart rhythm issues that happen sporadically.

Nuclear Stress Test (Pharmacological Nuclear Stress Test)

In order to give us a better view of your cardiovascular system, a provider will deliver a small amount of radioactive dye into a vein for this test. Then a special camera detects the radiation and produces computer images of your heart that show blood flow.

Like an exercise stress test, this is a diagnostic tool that helps our physicians spot signs of heart conditions such as coronary artery disease (CAD).

Tilt-Table Test

This test looks for the causes of fainting or lightheadedness. We use it to measure how your blood pressure and heart rate change when you switch from lying down to standing.

First, we position you flat on the table, then we raise it so you are in an upright position, all while you are secured so you’re protected in case you faint. You will remain upright for about 45 minutes as we monitor you for symptoms.