Cardiology - Our Services

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING

Echocardiography is the gold standard in the diagnosis of HCM. An echo is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to produce pictures on a monitor similar to a television. 
 
This test usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The patient is required to either lie flat or on their side.  The physician or technician places gel on the tip of a probe, then gently presses it against the skin of the patient moving the probe around the chest and abdomen. 
 
 
Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart, noting the rate and rhythm while indicating the size of the chambers. 
 
This is a non-invasive test which requires ten electrodes with wires attached to be placed on the chest and extremities. Lotions and creams should be avoided to aid adherence of the electrodes. This test will take approximately ten to fifteen minutes.
 
 
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the structure and function of the heart. Contrast-enhanced MRI is used to assess myocardial damage associated with HCM. Not all HCM patients will require an MRI.
 
The procedure usually takes approximately one hour. Patients lie on their back, electrodes are placed on the chest and an intravenous access is obtained. Several sets of images are required in a tunnel-like enclosure. The patient is instructed to hold their breath periodically. 
 
While imaging a breeze may be felt and a loud tapping or banging noise may be heard.  Earplugs or headphones with music may be worn to reduce the noise. When the contrast media is injected, a warm sensation may be felt throughout the body.  
 
 
24 hour holter monitor is a device the size of a pager, which is worn by a patient for either 24 or 48 hours.  The monitor will continuously record the electrical activity of the heart.  Holter monitor testing is a component of an annual evaluation.  In addition, it may be used to evaluate episodes of tachycardia, dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain.
 
An event recorder is similar to the 24 hour holter monitor in size, but only records the patient’s rhythm when the episode button is pushed or if the rhythm is beyond set parameters. It is mainly used when symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or palpitations are episodic. The event recorder is normally worn for a 30 day period.
 


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