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Heart Tests & Diagnosis

Check the health of your heart and its arteries with a diagnostic test at UNC Health Caldwell.

Cardiac Imaging

Your doctor may look at the structure, valves, and movement of the heart with one of these tests:

  • Echocardiogram – Passes a small ultrasound device over the chest to show the heart
    • Transesophageal echocardiogram – Slides a thin tube down your throat to take ultrasound pictures from the back side of the heart
  • Heart catheterization – Slides a thin tube (catheter) into an artery to check for blockages, which show up on a video X-ray machine
  • Heart computed tomography (CT) scan – Uses radiation to provide outstanding detail, especially of calcium buildup in the heart arteries
  • Heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Shows detailed images of your heart using magnets and radio waves

Cardiac Stress Tests

To see how well your heart responds when it has to pump faster, your doctor may recommend:

  • Exercise stress test – Records your heart rate while you walk on a treadmill
  • Dobutamine stress test – Uses medicine to make your heart work harder if you can’t complete an exercise stress test
  • Nuclear stress test – Injects mildly radioactive dye into your blood vessels to make them show up on a special video screen during a stress test
  • Stress echocardiogram – Takes ultrasound pictures of the heart before and after exercise testing

Cardiac Rhythm Tests

You may need one of these tests to check your heartbeat:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) – Places painless electrodes (sensors) on your chest to measure your heart’s electrical activity for less than a minute
  • Holter monitoring – Connects a portable device to sensors on your chest to continuously record the heart’s rhythm for one or two days
  • Cardiac event monitoring – Connects a portable device to sensors on your chest for up to one month so you can record symptoms that happen less than daily
  • Loop recorder implantation – Puts a small device under your skin to record your heart’s electrical signals for up to three years

Test Results

You’ll get test results as soon as possible. Your doctor will follow up with you to discuss them and recommend treatment or lifestyle changes to help your heart stay as strong as possible.

Make an Appointment

Call 828-757-6462 to schedule an appointment with a UNC Health Caldwell cardiologist.

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