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This is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of the heart. It provides the doctor with information about the size and shape of the heart and how well the heart’s chambers and valves are working.
This procedure is the most common type of echocardiogram test. It's painless and noninvasive and involves placing a device called a transducer on your chest that sends special sound waves, called ultrasound, through your chest wall to your heart. As the ultrasound waves bounce off the structures of your heart, a computer in the echocardiography machine converts them into pictures on a screen.
This is a test where the transducer is attached to the end of a flexible tube that's guided down your throat and into your esophagus to get a more detailed image of your heart. With standard transthoracic echocardiography, it can be difficult to see the aorta and certain other parts of the heart so if the doctor needs a better look at these areas, he or she may recommend transesophageal echocardiography.
Three-Dimensional (3D) Real Time Echocardiography
This is an ultrasound of the heart that allows visualization its structure in a realistic fashion with instantaneous online reconstruction.
Cardiac Stress Echo Test
An echocardiography test is where the patient exercises or takes medicine (given by the doctor) to make the heart pump harder and beat faster. Some heart problems, such as coronary artery disease, are easier to diagnose when the heart is beating fast and pumping hard.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
This test records the electrical activity of the heart over time produced by an electrocardiograph, usually in a noninvasive recording via skin electrodes.
During this test, the patient either walks on a treadmill or is given an intravenous (IV) medication that simulates exercise while connected to an electrocardiogram. When using ECG and blood pressure monitoring alone the test is variously called a cardiac stress test, exercise stress test, exercise treadmill test, exercise tolerance test, stress test or exercise ECG test.
Nuclear Stress Testing
This test is used for some patients with abnormal resting ECGs or those who are unable to walk safely. The patient will typically receive a medication which stimulates the heart. A nuclear isotope is injected during this time, and after a suitable waiting period, pictures are taken with a nuclear camera. The pictures are then compared with the patient's resting images in order to assess the status of the patient's coronary arteries.
If radioactive nuclides are used it is usually called a nuclear stress test. Given the ability to visualize the relative amounts of radioisotope within the heart muscle, nuclear stress tests are more accurate in detecting regional areas of decreased blood flow. However, diffuse global ischemia (decreased blood flow that is evenly spread out) may not be recognized because absolute blood flow is not quantitatively measured, only regional variations.