At San Diego Cardiac Center, we are equipped with some of the world’s most advanced diagnostic tools and systems. If you are scheduled for a cardiac test, we can help. We are pleased to be able to offer our patients advanced cardiac tests.
Accredited Cardiac Diagnostic Testing Center
Our cardiac center has been awarded full accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories and the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Laboratories.
We understand that you could feel anxious about undergoing diagnostic testing, and we want to reassure you that we go above and beyond to ensure your comfort in all the tests we perform. Our doctors and testing technicians are always prepared to answer your questions and explain the testing procedure and results in easy-to-understand language. We are deeply committed to ensuring you have a positive patient experience from start to finish.
- EKG-Electrocardiogram: In this test, electrodes with a sticky back are attached to your chest. Wires connect to an EKG machine, which records your heart’s electrical activity or heartbeats. The purpose of this test is to detect irregular heartbeats or identify possible past cardiac events. This is a quick test that takes only a few minutes and is completely painless.
- Exercise Stress Test: This test measures your heart’s response to physical stress from brisk walking or jogging on the treadmill.
- CPX-Cardiopulmonary Stress Testing: This test measures your heart and respiratory response to physical stress from brisk walking or jogging on the treadmill.
- SPECT Imaging or Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: This 3-hour test involves an injection of a small amount of a harmless, radioactive substance called Myoview. This substance circulates in the bloodstream, allowing us to determine if your heart is receiving an adequate blood supply. It works by the injected material connecting to your blood cells. Wherever they travel in your body, the substance creates a small trail that can be detected and photographed with a specialized camera system. The test also involves some minor exercise or simulated exercise.
- Ultrasound Tests: The following tests utilize a machine that uses sound waves to create digital images. A hand-held device and a gel-like substance are applied to the skin to obtain the images.
- Echocardiogram: This test creates a digital image of your heart with ultrasound. The image of the heart helps the doctors evaluate how well the heart valves and heart muscles functioning. The test involves placing a gel on your skin and moving the ultrasound device over your skin. It is painless and easy to experience.
- Stress Echocardiogram: This test is the same as an echocardiogram, except that an image of the heart at rest is then compared to an image of the heart obtained after you exercise on the treadmill or exercise is simulated for a short amount of time. This test is used for patients that have electrocardiogram changes or atypical chest pain.
- Carotid Ultrasound: This test creates a digital image of the blood flow and internal condition of your carotid arteries.
- Lower Extremity Venous Ultrasound: This test creates a digital image of the veins in your legs to evaluate your blood flow and the internal condition of your veins. It is often used if a blood clot or reduced blood flow is suspected.
- Lower Extremity Arterial Ultrasound: This test creates a digital image of the arteries in your legs to look at blood flow and the internal condition of your arteries. Blood pressures are also obtained from the arms and ankles to calculate what is called the “ankle-brachial index” or “ABI” to determine if the blood flow in your legs is adequate.
- Holter Monitor: A Medical Assistant will attach electrodes with a sticky back on your chest and torso. Shaving the chest may be necessary for a good connection to be established. These electrodes are connected by wires to a small device that will record your heart’s electrical activity for 24 to 48 hours. You will need to return to our office the following day to have the device removed. This test is used to detect irregular heartbeats that have not been captured through an EKG.
- Event Recorders: Several options are available, ranging from devices that are worn for 7 to 14 days or devices that are worn for 30 days. If your doctor orders this test, you will be given instructions specific to the device that was ordered. This test is used to capture irregular heartbeats that occur infrequently.
Hospital Testing and Procedures
Some of the tests you may need will be performed in a hospital setting. These tests include:
This is an X-ray test utilizing a special dye that takes pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein. During an angiogram, a thin tube, called a catheter, is placed into a blood vessel in the groin and is gently guided to the area to be studied. An iodine dye is injected into the vessel for contrast, enabling a better X-ray view of the artery or vein. Angiograms usually last 45 minutes to one hour. Patients typically receive a local anesthetic and sedative for comfort.
An electrophysiology mapping study is a test to see if there is a problem with your heart rhythm and to isolate the location of the problem. In this test, one or more thin tubes (called catheters) are placed into a blood vessel in the groin and then guided to the area to be studied. At the tips of the catheters are electrodes or small pieces of metal that conduct electricity. The electrodes collect information about your heart’s electrical activity. This information helps the doctor determine if there is a heart rhythm problem and its location.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
This is an ultrasound of the heart that is acquired by passing a probe down the esophagus. A TEE usually created clearer images of the heart than a regular ultrasound because the probe is located closer to the heart and the lungs, and bones of the chest do not interfere with the sound waves produced by the probe.
Tilt Table Testing
Tilt table testing is used to help detect the physical cause behind fainting spells. The test involves lying quietly on a bed and being tilted at different angles (30 to 60 degrees) for a period of time while various machines monitor your blood pressure, oxygen levels, and heartbeat.
Implantable Loop Recorders
An event monitor is implanted under the skin to capture information about irregular heartbeats that occur infrequently.