ECG – Electrocardiogram
This records the electrical impulses of the heart and can define the rhythm of the heart as well as angina or heart attack.
Exercise Test or Treadmill test
Uses an ECG whilst the patient is exercised on a graduated work load on a treadmill.
Changes in the ECG can alert us to the presence of Coronary Disease. If these changes occur at a low workload, it may indicate a need for urgent further investigations.
High frequency sound waves are used to bounce off the moving heart and with the help of computers an image of the beating heart can be seen. It can identify dead areas of the heart muscle . When these images at rest are compared with images after stress (Treadmill or Drug induced stress echo) areas of the heart with shortage of blood supply can be identified. This can lead to further tests and also guides treatment plans.
This test is absolutely essential for assessing heart valves as it not only shows the mobility and structure off the heart valve but also can assess the degree of narrowing or leakage from these valves.
A radio-active substance is injected into a vein and a Gamma camera is used to detect the flow of this into the heart muscle and through the chambers of the heart. When this test is done at rest and after stress, it can accurately identify areas where blood supply is defective.
This procedure is the best at visualising the nature of disease in the coronary arteries. A fine tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in the groin or the arm and guided to the opening of the coronary arteries. A dye is injected and its flow is recorded on X-ray movie. This procedure is very commonly performed and is often done as a day-case requiring only a few hours stay in the hospital.
The same procedure is necessary when your coronary disease is to be treated by a balloon angioplasty with stent insertion.
Computed Tomography Angio
This test is developing rapidly and uses rapid X-ray scanning to create three dimensional images of your heart and coronary arteries. It is non-invasive and it is possible that in the future it may replace coronary angiography.