A simple 12 lead ECG is a heart tracing that can provide an indication of an underlying heart rhythm problem. It is a simple test that can be conducted in outpatients with the results available immediately. If the ECG is normal a heart problem may still be present but it is a simple and cheap test that can provide a lot of useful information.
Exercise ECG also called a stress test. This involves walking on a treadmill attached to an ECG to monitor your heart. The treadmill gets progressively steeper and faster and can determine if there is any strain on the heart due to narrowing of the heart arteries.
An echocardiogram is also called a heart ultrasound test and is used to directly visualise the heart muscle and heart valves. It involves using a probe and some gel on the chest wall to view the heart on a screen. It is completely painless and helps determine how efficiently the heart is working. It can also provide information on the heart valves.
The results are available immediately and this test is very useful to provide a quick diagnosis. It can also be useful in other conditions such as high blood pressure. The test is also useful if you have a heart murmur.
Ambulatory (Portable) ECG Monitor
This is a portable ECG that a patient can wear up to 7 days and allows continuous monitoring of the patient’s ECG. Patients also get a diary so they can record the times of their symptoms. The ECG monitor is small (about the size of a mobile phone) with an activator button to press if the patient has symptoms. The ECG can then be analysed and matched to the times in the diary to see if the symptoms (such as chest pains or palpitations) match any changes in the ECG pattern.
This is a test where the heart arteries can be directly visualised. This is done by inserting a catheter via the artery in the wrist or leg into the heart and injecting dye while taking x-ray pictures of the heart arteries. This is usually the best way to find out whether the arteries are affected and the severity to which they are affected. The procedure is a low risk procedure and can be done as a day case under local anaesthetic. It is usually performed in patients where there is a high degree of suspicion of coronary artery disease.
24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor
This is a portable blood pressure monitor that you wear for 24 hours. The blood pressure cuff that is around your arm inflates every 30 minutes while you go about your day-to-day activities. This provides a more accurate measure of your blood pressure compared to a one-off recording measured at your doctor’s surgery.
Cardiac CT Angiogram
This test is a less invasive version of the coronary angiogram and involves a focused CT scan of the heart with particular focus on the heart arteries. This test is usually performed on patients where there is only a low degree of suspicion of heart disease as it is a less invasive test than a coronary angiogram. The test will provide a calcium score – this is a measure of the amount of calcium in the heart arteries and will provide an indication of the severity of any hardening and narrowing of the heart arteries. If a patient has chest pain that we do not think is due to hardening or narrowing of the heart arteries but we won’t to eliminate all doubt a CT coronary angiogram is a very useful and non-invasive test to help confirm this and offer a great deal of peace of mind.
Cardiac MRI Scan
This is a specialised scan of the heart using a magnetic resonance scanner. It provides greater detail about the function of the heart and the valves as well as additional information about the degree of scarring in the heart. It does involve the patient lying in an enclosed space for 45 minutes to 1 hour and holding their breath periodically.
Implantable Loop Recorder
This is a small device that can be implanted under the skin in a minor surgical procedure. The device has the ability to monitor the heart rhythm continuously over a 3- year period. A patient with this device implanted will have a separate recording device to record their ECG when they have symptoms and download them to the hospital for their doctor to review. It offers an advantage over standard portable ECG monitoring in that it means the next time the patient has an episode of palpitations or fainting it can be monitored because the device is implanted into the patient.
Book an Appointment
Please enter your details below and include a brief summary of the problem and convenient days and times for you to see Dr Hamaad privately.
Patients can be seen in The BMI Priory or Spire Hospital in Little Aston.