The test shows how fast the heart
is beating and its rhythm (steady or irregular). An EKG also records the
strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through the
An EKG can show signs of heart damage
due to coronary heart disease and signs of a previous or current heart
Some heart problems are easier to
diagnose when your heart is working hard and beating fast. During stress
testing, you exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast. If you
can't exercise, you may be given medicine to raise your heart rate.
As part of the test, your blood pressure
is checked and an EKG is done. Other heart tests also might be done.
Echocardiography is a painless,
noninvasive test. This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of
your heart. Echocardiography shows the size and shape of your heart and how
well your heart chambers and valves are working.
The test also can show areas of poor
blood flow to your heart, areas of heart muscle that aren't working well,
and previous injury to your heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.
Coronary angiography is a test that
uses dye and special x rays to show the insides of your coronary
To get the dye into your coronary
arteries, your doctor will use a procedure called cardiac catheterization
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter
is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck. The
tube is threaded into your coronary arteries, and the dye is released into
Special x rays are taken while the
dye is flowing through the coronary arteries. These x rays are called
The dye lets your doctor study blood
flow through the heart and blood vessels. This helps your doctor find blockages
that can cause a heart attack.
An aortogram is an angiogram of the
aorta. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from your heart to
your body. An aortogram may show the location and size of an aortic
Chest X Ray
A chest x ray creates pictures of
the structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs, and blood
This test gives your doctor information
about the size and shape of your heart. A chest x ray also shows the position
and shape of the large arteries around your heart.
Cardiac Computed Tomography
A cardiac computed tomography
scan, or cardiac CT scan, is a painless test that uses an
x-ray machine to take clear, detailed pictures of the heart.
Sometimes an iodine-based dye (contrast
dye) is injected into one of your veins during the scan. The contrast dye
highlights your coronary (heart) arteries on the x-ray pictures. This type
of CT scan is called a coronary CT angiography, or CTA.
A cardiac CT scan can show whether
plaque is narrowing your coronary arteries or whether you have an aneurysm.
A CT scan also can find problems with the heart's function and valves.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
is a safe, noninvasive test that uses magnet fields, radio waves, and computer
computations to create pictures of your organs and tissues.
Cardiac MRI creates images of your
heart as it is beating. The computer calculations generate both still and moving pictures
of your heart and major blood vessels.
Cardiac MRI shows the structure and
function of your heart. This test can show the size and location of an aneurysm.