An Echocardiogram is a test that uses ultrasound to assess the structure and function of the heart. You will be required to remove all your clothing from the waist up. The Echocardiographer will place some small dots on your chest to monitor your heart rate and place an ultrasound probe and gel at various places on your chest. During the study, you will hear noises which reflect the blood flow through your heart. Ultrasound is a safe modality and does not pose any risks to the patient. The test can take between 30 and 45 minutes and there are no special requirements before the test.
A Stress Echocardiogram requires you to exercise for a short period on a treadmill while your heart rhythm and blood pressure is being monitored. Ultrasound images will be taken of the heart before and after exercise. This allows the Cardiologist to assess for any changes in your hearts function at rest, and at exercise that might indicate disease.
Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram
A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram (DSE) is similar to a Stress Echocardiogram, however, a drug is used to increase the heart rate in situations where exercising the patient is not an option. An intravenous cannula (IV) is inserted in your hand or forearm and is connected to an infusion pump containing Dobutamine. (Dobutamine is a drug which stimulates the heart to pump faster and harder, similar to the effects of exercise). Continuous ECG recordings will be made until the end of the test, and Dobutamine will be given at increasing doses every three minutes until your heart rate reaches the required level. A cardiologist and cardiac sonographer and cardiac technologist are present for the duration of the test.
24 Hour Holter Monitor
A Holter Monitor is essentially an ECG, or a reading of the electrical activity of the heart, which records continuously throughout the monitoring period. A technician will place ECG electrodes on your chest and attach a monitor which is similar in size to a modern smart-phone. The monitor will be attached by a belt around your waist. It will take approximately 15 minutes to fit the monitor, and 10 minutes for removal or you may remove yourself as advised by the technician.
24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor
An ambulatory blood pressure monitor monitors your blood pressure every 30 minutes during the day and every hour at night for a 24 hour period. A technician will place a blood pressure cuff to your upper arm and attach a monitor which is slightly bigger than a modern smart-phone. The monitor will be attached by a belt around your waist. During the period of monitoring, you will be unable to take a shower, bath, or get the monitor wet since it is a sensitive electronic device. At the end of the monitoring period, the device is returned to us, and the recorded information will be downloaded digitally and read by a cardiologist. It will take approximately 15 minutes to fit the monitor, and 10 minutes for removal or you may remove yourself as advised by the technician.