What are the different types of heart diagnostics tools?
The cardiology field has a wide range of diagnostics available to treat the many different types of heart disease, and UnityPoint Health - Pekin has some of the most advanced. If you have additional questions, please call the Diagnostic Center at (309) 353-0410 or contact your physician.
What is an Echocardiogram (ECHO)?
An ECHO is a noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to evaluate how well the heart is working. Gel is applied to the chest and a transducer is moved over the chest area to produce an image of the internal structures of the heart. The ECHO will take 30-60 minutes, depending on your condition and type of ECHO needed. This test will help the physician evaluate how well your heart is moving, how well the valves are working and the size of the heart and its pumping chambers (ventricles).
An ECHO must be ordered by a physician. No preparation is necessary.
What is Holter Monitoring?
Holter monitoring is a continuous, 24-hour electrocardiographic recording (EKG or ECG) of the heart's rhythm. Electrodes are placed on the chest area with leads attached to a small recorder. You will receive instructions regarding care of the monitor while wearing it, and you will be asked to keep a diary for 24 hours to record daily activities and any symptoms experienced. It will take approximately 15 minutes to have the monitor put on. You will return the next day to have the monitor removed.
Results of the Holter monitoring will help the physician evaluate the type and amount of irregular heartbeats during regular activities, exercise and sleep. The test must be ordered by a physician. No lotions may be applied to the skin while wearing the electrodes.
What is a Treadmill Stress Test (TST)?
A Treadmill Stress Test records the heart's electrical activity during exercise. Electrodes will be placed on your chest (the same as for an ECG), and you will be asked to walk on a treadmill. The speed and incline of the treadmill will increase in, usually, 3-minute increments. Your blood pressure and ECG will be monitored continuously. During the test, a cardiologist and technicians are present. The cardiologist will observe any changes in the ECG or symptoms that you might have during the test. The cardiologist will have you exercise until you reach a predetermined heart rate (Target Heart Rate) or become too tired to continue testing.
The TST will help the physician evaluate your cardiac condition in regard to irregular heart rhythms, decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart with exercise, how hard the heart can work before symptoms develop, how quickly the heart recovers after exercise, your cardiovascular conditioning, and what percent of the target heart rate you reach. This test must be ordered by a physician. It usually takes about one hour from hook-up to finish. For preparation, you should have no Beta-blockers, digitalis, calcium channel blockers for 48 hours, or as directed by physician.
What is a Stress Echocardiogram (Stress ECHO)?
A Stress ECHO is a noninvasive test that combines two tests - the treadmill stress test and the echocardiogram. An ECHO is done at rest before exercise and immediately after peak exercise. This test will help the physician evaluate your overall cardiac condition related to irregular heart rhythms, decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart at rest and with exertion, cardiovascular conditioning, how hard the heart works before onset of symptoms and how quickly the heart recovers after exercise.
A Stress ECHO must be ordered by a physician and usually takes 60-90 minutes. For preparation, you should have no Beta-blockers, digitalis, or calcium channel blockers for 48 hours prior to the exam. He or she should have no caffeine for 24 hours, should not smoke for six hours and should wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes. You should arrive 30 minutes prior to the appointment time and use the Park Avenue entrance.