Advanced Technology for Accurate Diagnosis of Arrhythmias
The heart's electrical system is quite complex. Accurate diagnosis of problems requires highly trained electrophysiologists and specialized equipment. Using one or more of the tests below, your Heart Rhythm Center physician can offer the most precise diagnosis of your condition. For more information, our experts recommend resources from the Heart Rhythm Society. View the HRS links below to learn more.
An electrocardiogram is a record of the electrical activity of your heart. Our medical team will attach electrodes to your body. The EKG machine will then record your heart's electrical signals onto graph paper as a pattern of waves. The test may be performed while you are at rest or exercising on a treadmill.
This non-invasive test uses soundwaves to capture a picture of the heart. It shows the heart's four chambers, valves, major vessels coming into and going out of the heart, and movements. It can identify the heart's ability to pump and other problems that increase the risk of dangerous arrhythmias.
Because arrhythmias come and go, it can be difficult to record an event during a single test like the electrocardiogram or echocardiogram described above. Often, it's necessary to monitor a patient's heart over time using a tool like the Holter monitor. This small, portable recorder attaches to the body via electrodes. It typically records heart activity for a period of 24-48 hours. Patients participate in their usual daily activities during the testing period and then return the recorder to the Heart Rhythm Center for analysis.
An event recorder is similar to the Holter monitor described above, except it is used only to record "events" when a patient has symptoms. This testing method is effective when symptoms are infrequent and may not be captured in a 48-hour period.
Electrophysiology Study (EPS)
An electrophysiology study allows the physician to precisely map your heart's electrical activity, observe how your heart reacts to stimuli, and test the effectiveness of treatment - all in a medically controlled environment. Unlike the tests mentioned above, this test is invasive, but it is still extremely safe. It involves the insertion of thin tubes called electrode catheters into the veins in the neck or groin area. These tubes are guided into the heart using an advanced imaging technique. The EPS begins with mapping and diagnosis, which may be followed by a therapeutic procedure, such as ablation or implantation of a pacing device.
Tilt Table Test
This test may be used if you have experienced syncope, commonly known as fainting. During the test, you will rest on a table. Our professionals will monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure as the table tilts to assess your body's reaction to changes in position. This safe test can diagnose vasovagal or neurocardiogenic fainting, a condition that is not life threatening.
This test uses small doses of radioactive material to measure the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently. It is also called the first pass technique, or Multiple-Gated Acquisition Scanning (MUGA).
Your Heart Rhythm Center physician will insert a thin hollow tube called a catheter into a blood vessel. Using x-ray guidance, the physician will thread the tube to your heart where it can obtain small samples of heart muscle, measure the pressure in your heart, or diagnose blood vessel or heart valve disease.
For more information, contact the Heart Rhythm Center at 812/450-7547.