Diagnosing Heart Disease

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

Often called an “EKG” or “ECG” for short, an electrocardiogram measures your heart’s electrical activity, including your heart’s rate and rhythm. The test can detect ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart), heart attack, and a variety of other conditions.

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.

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. Contrast dye injected through the catheter shows how your heart’s blood vessels are working. If a blockage is discovered, 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.

Exercise Stress Test

During this test—sometimes known as a treadmill test, exercise cardiac stress test, or ECST—sensors are placed on your chest to record your heart as you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. Your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and electrical activity are monitored and recorded, along with any symptoms you may experience, to look for indications of coronary artery disease and angina (that 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.

Pharmacological 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).