Testing & Procedures
CUSTOMERS: Having a letter from your GP is very helpful however we can still see you if you need urgent testing.
An ECG (electrocardiogram) records the electrical activity of the heart. It is used to measure the rate and regularity of the heart called rhythm and can be very useful in the detecting lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. The test takes about 5 minutes.
Exercise Stress Test
This is an advanced form of ECG testing. The electrical changes of the heart can be monitored while you exercise in a safe and supervised environment. The exercise is performed either on a treadmill or a bicycle at increasing levels of difficulty, while the heart rate, blood pressure and ECG are continually monitored. The test usually takes 30 minutes.
We advise you to wear comfortable shoes for such a test, to bring a list of your current medications and not to drink coffee beforehand.
Holter and Event Monitor
This is a portable ECG device that is attached to the patient who will wear it for the following 24 hours. The ECG will be recorded throughout but when the patient has any symptoms and presses a button on the monitor this will be recorded as a note of the timing of the symptoms so that the cardiologist can tell if the symptoms of the patient were related to any changes in the ECG.
Loop Recorder Implantation
While the ECG tests the electricity for a few seconds, the holter tests for 24 hours this device can measure for much longer periods even years. This will help to exclude problems with the electricity of the heart as the cause of collapses, blackouts and dangerous heart rhythms.
This tiny device is inserted like an injection just under the skin to the left of the breast bone using local anaesthetic. The procedure takes less than 5 minutes to complete. The patient will be fully reviewed by a member of the cardiology team prior to discharge to explain the procedures used to monitor the data from the loop recorder. The long battery life means the loop recorder stays in place for up to 2-3 years, but it’s monitoring life is sometimes as long as four years.
After the procedure, you will need to remain in the clinic for about 2 hours to ensure that the device is working well before you leave.
A pacemaker is a small device which is used to treat some abnormal heart rhythms that can cause your heart to beat too slowly or miss beats. The performance of these devices needs to be checked regularly and when the patient experiences any symptoms that may be related to its malfunction such as shortness of breath, fainting or a racing heart. The check up is done by using a dedicated pacemaker checking computer that has a magnet that connects to the pacemaker. Touching this special magnet to the skin where the pacemaker lies allows the computer to interrogate the device and read its memory. The computer can also be used to adjust and optimise the function of the pacemaker.
An echo is a scan of the heart that uses ultrasound technology. The echo machine acquires images of the heart which are used to check if the heart pump is functioning normally, if there’s a structural abnormality such as valves not opening well or leaking, or if there’s any previous damage or scarring to the heart muscle.
Dobutamine Stress Echo
A normal echocardiogram is used to look at the heart while the heart beat is low. There are instances where the cardiologist would want to check the function of the heart while it is working harder. This can be achieved by using a medicine called Dobutamine which is given through a vein. Dobutamine makes the heart beat faster and work harder allowing the cardiologist to check the heart performance under stress. This test can identify areas of the heart that may be damaged or not performing well from the lack of blood supply.
24 hour Blood Pressure Monitor
This wearable machine is able to record the blood pressure over a 24-hour period. An inflatable cuff is worn on the upper arm and connected to a small monitoring recording device. The cuff will inflate and deflate at regular intervals, recording your blood pressure. The data is then downloaded from the device for interpretation by the cardiologist.
Blood tests are a standard part of routine and preventive healthcare. A doctor will often order a blood test before or after a physical examination. A doctor may also order blood tests to evaluate specific conditions.
A person should talk to their doctor about what routine tests they need. A doctor may only order a blood test if they have concerns about other conditions, or they may request a yearly test as part of their preventive health plan.
Result times can vary based on the type of test that the person has had. For some tests, the wait time is a few minutes. For other tests, the wait time is a few days or more.
Genetic testing is a test that identifies changes or abnormalities in your DNA. The result of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition. It can help to predict a person’s chance of developing a heart condition or passing a genetic heart condition to his children.
Genetic testing is ideally done as part of a genetic consultation.