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Diagnostic Testing

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

This is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to produce a study of the motion of the heart's chambers and valves.  The echo sound waves create and image on the monitor as an ultrasound transducer is passed over the heart.

Stress Test

A stress test is given while a patient walks on a treadmill or pedals a stationary bike to monitore the heart during exercise.  Breathing and blood pressure rates are also monitored.  A stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease and.or determine safe levels of exercise following a heart attack or heart surgery.

Nuclear Test (Myocardial Perfusion Scan)

A myocardial perfusion scan or nuclear test, is used to evaluate coronary artery disease.  The scan uses radioactive substances (radionuclides) in the form of thallium and technicium which can be used to produce pictures of the patient's heart.  When the radionuclide is injected into the bloodstream, it travels to the heart muscle through the coronary arteries.  This process can be visualized by a special camera.

Holter Monitor

A small, portable battery-powered EKG machine is worn by the patient to record heartbeats on tape over a period of 24 to 48 hours - during normal activities.  At the end of the time period, the monitor is returned to the physician's office so the tape can be read and evaluated.