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Cardiac Diagnostic Services

To diagnose coronary artery disease, physicians at CRMC rely on state-of-the-art diagnostic services. Some of the cardiac tests your physician may order include:

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a graph of the electrical circuits in your heart at one point in time. There are specific patterns on the EKG that the physician looks for to determine whether there are abnormalities or not.

During the test, you will lie on a stretcher while an electrocardiograph records the information. You will be attached to the electrocardiograph by stickers on your chest that are connected to wires leading to the machine. The test takes about 10 minutes.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram ("echo") is an ultrasound of the heart. A small probe like a microphone, called a transducer, is placed on the chest in various places. The ultrasound waves sent by the transducer bounce off the various parts of the heart. A computer in the machine determines the time it takes for the sound wave to return to the transducer and generates a picture with the data.

During the test, you will lie on your back or left side on a stretcher for about 45 minutes while the pictures are being recorded. The echocardiographer will review the pictures before sending you home to be sure all the necessary information has been obtained.

Stress Echocardiogram

Stress tests are performed to see how the heart performs under physical stress. The heart can be stressed with exercise on a treadmill or in a few instances, a bicycle. If a person cannot exercise on a treadmill or bicycle, medications can be used to cause the heart rate to increase, simulating normal reactions of the heart to exercise.

During the stress test, you will wear EKG leads and wires while exercising so that the electrical signals of your heart can be recorded at the same time. An echocardiogram ("echo") is an ultrasound of the heart. A small probe like a microphone, called a transducer, is placed on the chest in various places. The ultrasound waves sent by the transducer bounce off the various parts of the heart. A computer in the machine determines the time it takes for the sound wave to return to the transducer and generates a picture with the data.

During the test, you will lie on your left side on a stretcher for about 45 minutes while the pictures are being recorded. The echocardiographer will review the pictures before sending you home to be sure all the necessary information has been obtained.

Dual Isotope Stress Test

Dual isotope stress tests also have two components to them: a treadmill stress test and scanning of the heart after injection of a radionuclide material. The material has been used in this manner safely for many years to demonstrate the amount of blood the heart is getting under various conditions (rest and stress).

Stress tests are performed to see how the heart performs under physical stress. The heart can be stressed with exercise on a treadmill or in a few instances, a bicycle. If a person cannot exercise on a treadmill or bicycle, medications can be used to cause the heart rate to increase, simulating normal reactions of the heart to exercise.

During the stress test, you will wear EKG leads and wires while exercising so that the electrical signals of your heart can be recorded at the same time.