What to Expect with Cardiac Diagnostic Testing

Before a diagnosis is established for your heart issues or conditions, you may have a variety of diagnostic tests performed, including:

Calcium CT Scoring

A non-invasive procedure to evaluate calcium levels in the arteries, cardiac computed tomography (CT) for Calcium Scoring produces pictures of the coronary arteries. This allows our team to determine if they are blocked or narrowed, indicating atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. 

Cardiac Catheterization

With a catheter approach through an artery in your leg or wrist, cardiac catheterization can show narrowing of the arteries and how well your heart is functioning or pumping and any valve function issues. 

Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

With advanced imaging expertise, a CT scan takes a three-dimensional (3D) picture of your heart.

Echocardiogram (Echo)

Echo sound waves are used to view your heart’s chambers and valves with ultrasound technology. Through this noninvasive approach, our specialists can determine any issues with the structure or function of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Recording the electrical activity of your heart, an electrocardiogram shows any issues such as abnormal rhythms, called arrhythmias, or can even detect damage to your heart muscle.

Electrophysiology Study

To determine any abnormalities of your heart rhythm, also called arrhythmia, electrophysiology studies test the electrical activity of your heart. 

Holter Monitor Study

Usually performed after a traditional test to check your heart rhythm such as an ECG, a holter monitor study monitors and records your heart rhythm over a length of time to identify any issues. 

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

Like an MRI, magnetic resonance angiography examines only the blood vessels to determine their condition and any issues with blood flow that affects heart or vascular function.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Heart

For detailed pictures of the actual structure of your heart, an MRI is used to detect or monitor heart disease and evaluate patients that may have issues such as congenital heart disease.

Nuclear Stress Test

Measuring blood flow both at rest and under exertion, a nuclear stress test provides images that can show how well blood is flowing into the heart muscle, indicating any low blood flow through the heart or damage. With an intravenous line (IV) into your arm or hand and electrodes placed on your chest, legs and arms, an electrocardiogram records the electrical signals that trigger your heartbeats. A cuff on your arm also checks your blood pressure during the test. A nuclear stress test takes about 3 hours and your heart specialist will provide detailed information about medications you may need to adjust prior to this test.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

To diagnose coronary artery disease or damage to your heart from a heart attack, a PET scan of the heart will indicate how your heart and any issues with blood flow or function. 

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

For a closer look at your heart’s structure and function, particularly any abnormalities around your heart or valves, including leaking or blood clots, this test starts by guiding an endoscope down your esophagus to take detailed pictures very close to your heart.  

Treadmill Stress Test

To monitor your heart, breathing and blood pressure while you are exerting effort on treadmill, a stress test may detect coronary artery disease or determine the appropriate safe levels of exercise following heart surgery or a heart attack. The activity level “stresses” the heart and monitors how it reacts to the increased activity level.  

What to Expect with Vascular Diagnostic Testing

Our vascular specialists may request a variety of diagnostic vascular tests to determine the optimal treatment plan, including:

Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound (also called sonography) will help diagnose carotid artery disease. As with any ultrasound, there isn’t any pain and sound waves simply show pictures of the interior of your carotid arteries, showing any narrowing or blockage of your carotid arteries.

Doppler Carotid Ultrasound

A similar test to the carotid ultrasound, a Doppler carotid ultrasound diagnostic test shows the movement of blood through your carotid arteries.

Carotid Angiography

Used to further evaluate or confirm any narrowing or blockage in your carotid arteries, a carotid angiography procedure uses a catheter inserted through your arm or leg to show highlights of contrast dye through x-rays of your carotid arteries.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

To determine issues with blood vessels, an MRA test shows both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls. This test will show levels of plaque or disease in the carotid artery of the neck that may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.

Computed Tomography Angiography or CT Angiography

Providing detailed pictures of the heart and the blood vessels with a CT angiography, a contrast dye is used to make the blood vessels easier to see any narrowing or blockages within the vessels.