Cardiac Health Institute For Doctors For Patients

Test Information

What is an Exercise Stress Test?

An exercise stress test is used to assess how your heart and blood vessels respond to physical exertion. Your ECG, heart rate, blood pressure and physical symptoms will be measured whilst you walk on a treadmill for several minutes. The treadmill begins at a very low speed that is increased every few minutes. It is a surprisingly easy test and is accomplished by most patients, even the elderly. The test takes about 30 minutes in all.

What is an Echocardiogram?

An Echocardiogram (Echo) is a safe and painless diagnostic test which uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to take moving pictures of the heart. A small transducer is placed on your chest and the test takes about 30 minutes. The sound waves show the heart wall, heart valves and heart chambers and are used to judge the speed, amount and direction of the blood flowing through the heart as well as the blood pressure in the chambers of your heart and lungs.

What is a Carotid Doppler?

A Carotid Doppler is a safe and painless diagnostic test using ultrasound waves to show the carotid arteries in your neck which are the blood vessels that feed the brain. A small transducer is placed on your neck and pictures are taken to see if there is any plaque build-up in these arteries. This simple test takes about 30 minutes.

What is a Stress Echocardiogram (Stress Echo)?

A Stress Echo is a combination of an exercise stress test and an echo, which is doneimmediately after you finish the exercise stress test. This test will allow your doctor to gain all the information provided by an exercise stress test, as well as the echo information which will assist in determining how your heart copes with the exercise. If one or more of the blood vessels in the heart is narrowed, the heart may not cope as well with the exercise and the echo will assist your doctor in identifying the effect of any narrowing. Sometimes in patients with heart valve conditions (narrowed or leaking valve), a stress echo is done to assess how effective the heart valve is functioning.

What is and Electrocardiogram(ECG)?

An ECG (or EKG) is a graphical recording of your heart's electrical activity. This is done by taping special paper dots (electrodes) on your skin and connecting wires up to those dots from the ECG machine. The ECG is then graphed onto paper, and it can provide your doctor with information including what your heart rate is, whether there is any damage to your heart and a range of other conditions which may show up in the recording.

What is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter Monitor is a small recorder which you carry on your waist belt or in a pocket. It will detect and record continuously your heartbeats for a period of time (usually around a 24 hour period) while you carry on doing what you would usually do (work, eat, exercise, sleep etc). It is really a continuous ECG recording which then can be correlated with symptoms of dizziness, palpitations chest pain etc.

What is an Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP) monitor?

Ambulatory Blood Pressure monitoring is used to measure blood pressure automatically and continuously for 24 hours (usually every 20 minutes during day time and every 60 minutes at night). It provides more accurate information for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

What is a nuclear (sestamibi) scan?

This test is non-invasive and is used to assess the function of the blood vessels/arteries in your heart. As an outpatient you will be given a small IV injection of an isotope and a nuclear camera is used to take pictures of your heart at rest and after exercise. It is very safe and rarely has any side effects. The sestamibi test will check if any blood vessel is not delivering adequate blood flow to the heart muscle. An added 'bonus, the sestamibi test also examines the way the heart is pumping, and measures the size of the main pumping chambers of the heart.

What is a pacing clinic?

CHI now offers more convenient, less stressful and more effective way for our patients with pacemakers and defibrillators to be monitored.  During a pacing clinic CHI will arrange the appropriate medical representative to attend clinic and monitor the device while being supervised by one of our Cardiologists.  We work to refer our existing patients to the new service for convenience but welcome referrals to  our pacemaker clinic independently.

What is an EP Device/Therapy?

Cardiac electrophysiology is the monitoring and treatment of electrical activities of the heart.  CHI can  provide interventional cardiac electrophysiology studies (EPS) and surgical device implantations were required.

What is a Coronary Angiogram, angioplasty or a stent?

An angiogram is an x-ray test that is performed in hospital while you are mildly sedated as a day care patient. A soft catheter is inserted into the arteries of the heart and contrast media (dye) is injected to see if there are any blockages in the arteries. If your cardiologist does find a blockage, he will determine whether it can be managed medically or whether you will need further treatment such as an angioplasty, stenting or bypass surgery.   An angioplasty (PTCA) is a small balloon device that is placed at the site of the blockage and inflated so that the artery is reopened. It is then removed.  A stent is sometimes inserted to support the arterial wall, strengthen it and hold it open. These procedures require a hospital stay. If your cardiologist decides you need one of these procedures, he/she will explain them to you in detail, with plenty of take home material to read.