Patient Tests

Diagnostic Patient Tests

This is a tracing of the electrical activity of the heart muscle. This test can be performed to monitor for abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias), evidence of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and other heart diseases.

What to expect: No preparation is required. The test is non-invasive and painless. 12 stickers are placed on the chest and on the limbs, which are then connected to the ECG machine.  Duration is 5-10minutes.

Ambulatory Monitoring

A holter monitor is a small device that a patient wears for 24 or 48 hours to continuously record the electrical activity of the heart.  The holter monitor test is usually performed to check your heart rhythm.

What to expect: You should shower before the monitor is attached as the Holter monitor cannot get wet. The test is painless and non-invasive. It usually takes 15 minutes to attach and 5 minutes to remove the device. For men a small amount of hair may be shaved to make sure the electrode dots stick to the skin. You will be instructed to keep a diary of activities and symptoms during the recording period (typically 24-48 hours). No other imaging (CT, MRI or x-ray) should be performed while the monitor is attached. Once the monitoring period is over you can return to the clinic for the device to be removed and analysis of the results.

What to expect: No preparation is required. The test is non-invasive and painless. 12 stickers are placed on the chest and on the limbs, which are then connected to the ECG machine.  Duration is 5-10minutes.

A stress echocardiogram (stress echo) is performed to assess for blockages in the coronary arteries. The test is a combination of an exercise stress test and echocardiogram (echo). It involves taking echo pictures at rest and once again at peak exercise to assess the blood flow to the heart.  The heart is usually tested by exercise on a treadmill similar to walking uphill. For patients who are unable to exercise, the heart can be stimulated with a drug called dobutamine which can be infused through a vein in the arm (this is called a dobutamine stress echocardiogram). The test does not involve x-ray or radiation.

What to expect? Prior to the test you should have nothing to eat for 4 hours and avoid stimulants like coffee, tea and drinks with caffeine. A list of your medications is required and your doctor may instruct you to withhold some medication prior to the test. The test involves a exercising on a treadmill similar to walking uphill so wear suitable clothes and footwear. The duration of the test is around 60 minutes.

Stress Testing

Exercise stress testing is most commonly performed to assess for blockages in the coronary arteries.  The test involves monitoring your ECG and blood pressure in addition to symptoms during exercise which is most commonly performed on a treadmill.

What to expect: Prior to the test you should have nothing to eat for 4 hours and avoid stimulants like coffee, tea and drinks with caffeine. A list of your medications is required and your doctor may instruct you to withhold some medication prior to the test. The test involves a exercising on a treadmill similar to walking uphill so wear suitable clothes and footwear. The duration of the test is around 30 minutes.

Patients wear a 24 hr blood pressure monitor to record blood pressure during various times of the day and night by inflating a cuff on your arm.  Once the designated time has elapsed the monitor is returned to the clinic where the results are downloaded from the device to assess blood pressure control.

What to expect: You should shower before the monitor is attached, as you will not be able to shower whilst wearing the monitor which cannot get wet. It usually takes 10-20 minutes to attach the small device with blood pressure cuff and provide you with all the necessary instructions. The usual monitoring period is 24 hours. You will need to return to clinic for the monitor to be removed, which takes only a couple of minutes. The results can then be reviewed.

Also known as a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), an echocardiogram (echo) is a test in which ultrasound technology is used to examine the heart muscle, valves, blood vessels and blood flow. The test does not involve x-ray or radiation.

What to expect:  The test is non-invasive and usually painless.  No specific preparation is required. Wear a two piece outfit (or gown), as you will be required to remove your clothing from the waist up. The duration is usually 45-60 minutes.

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