An accurate diagnosis is the first step to creating a personalized treatment plan. Fairbanks offers the following diagnostic heart tests:
- Cardiac Catheterization (also called cardiac cath, coronary angiography or heart catheterization) gives your doctor a view of the valves, the heart muscle and coronary arteries at work. If your doctor finds a problem during a catheterization, he or she may treat it right away.
- Echocardiography: During an echocardiogram, also called an Echo, a technician uses a painless technique to send sound waves into the patient’s chest. This produces a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.
- Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG): An electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity in a heartbeat. Patients can be hooked to electrodes or wear a heart monitor (a small box that weighs less than one pound). Monitoring devices send signals to technicians who observe the heart rate and rhythm.
- Nuclear Imaging: Nuclear medicine is a unique type of medical imaging that uses very small and safe amounts of radioactive materials in conjunction with a specialized camera to diagnose and treat diseases. Heart scans are most often used to image blood flow to, and the function of, the heart.
- Stress Testing: Stress/exercise testing involves studying the heart while under maximum cardiac stress. It allows technicians to measure the heart's efficiency when subjected to predetermined exercise or cardiac medications. Patients may walk on a treadmill or lie still under a camera depending on how the physician chooses to view their heart function.
Conveniently located in the hospital, heart diagnostic procedures are conducted on an outpatient basis. Results are then interpreted and sent to your physician who will discuss the findings with you. Fairbanks Memorial staff will provide specific instruction at the time of scheduling and will provide direction and assistance during the tests.