A Heart-to-Heart Talk on Cardiac Tests

Cardiac Pain

Cardiac Pain

Cardiac diseases are currently among the most prevalent and deadliest diseases worldwide. This increase has primarily been attributed to sedentary lifestyles and poor diets which lead to the accumulation of dangerous fats around the heart. There are different tests used to diagnose various cardiac conditions. After diagnosis, the tests might still be required to track the progress of the disease.

The most common cardiac tests cardiology experts in Gunnison will recommend for their patients are non-invasive ones. These include x-rays, Holter monitoring, electrocardiograms and stress tests among others. When the non-invasive tests are inconclusive, your cardiologist will usually recommend invasive cardiac tests. Here are some of these tests.

Blood tests

Blood testing in cardiac patients generally includes a check for different enzymes. The common systemic enzymes checked include fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, triglyceride, prothrombin while the common cardiac enzymes are creatinine kinase and troponin. Blood tests are generally recommended after a heart attack to monitor the extent of damage to your body’s functions. They are also useful in determining your risk of developing different cardiac conditions.

Cardiac Catheterization

Man checking his heart beat

This examines the interiors of your cardiac blood vessels using x-rays known as angiograms. A catheter is inserted via a blood vessel in your groin, neck or arm to the heart. Injection of a dye through the catheter to illuminate your blood vessels then follows. The procedure takes about two to three hours. Cardiac catheterization is generally used to assess the narrowing of your coronary arteries by plaque and evaluate the functioning of cardiac valves. The procedure is also an interventional one which can be used to stent blocked coronary arteries and open them up.

Nuclear Imaging

In nuclear cardiac imaging, a radioactive substance called a radionuclide is injected into your bloodstream. Computer generated images and scans are then taken to identify how your heart chambers are working and its blood supply. Nuclear imaging is often used with exercise stress tests to augment its results’ accuracy. In this case, the radionuclide is injected at the peak of a patient’s exercise. The test primarily assesses the extent of narrowing of your coronary arteries.

Transesophageal Echocardiography

Conventional echocardiography is a non-invasive test. In transesophageal echocardiography, however, an instrument will be inserted into your throat and then the esophagus. The images captured through high-frequency sound waves will give a clear picture of your heart’s condition since a portion of the esophagus lies near the heart. A transesophageal echocardiogram will show the thickness of your heart’s walls, any abnormal tissue on the valves and blood leaks due to valve narrowing. It is also used to assess the heart’s condition in children with congenital cardiac diseases.

Correct diagnosis is a cornerstone of successful treatment of your heart condition. The above tests will significantly help in reaching the accurate diagnosis and tailoring your treatments efficiently. For mild cardiac disease, lifestyle modification which includes diet changes and exercise might be enough for optimal control. In severe conditions, however, oral medications and sometimes cardiac correction surgeries or placement of cardiac devices are the mainstay treatments.