7 Common Medical Tests That Can Help Diagnose Heart Conditions
There are a variety of diagnostic options available to identify the exact condition and delay or prevent morbid events with effective therapeutic efficacy.
The electrical signals in the heart are captured by an ECG
Heart diseases also known as cardiovascular diseases are the world's leading cause of death, accounting for 17.7 million deaths every year. Heart diseases are referred to a group of diseases related to heart and blood vessels. While identifying early symptoms are crucial, getting a medical diagnosis done can help in saving a life as it helps in diagnosing the type of heart disease a person is suffering from which helps in providing the correct treatment.
Heart diseases including myocardial infarction and ischemia, heart failure, stroke and cardiac arrest are different kinds of medical conditions with some common symptoms such as chest pain, uneasiness, shortness of breath, tiredness, etc. There are a variety of diagnostic options available to identify the exact condition and delay or prevent morbid events with effective therapeutic efficacy.
Some of the common preliminary tests recommended are:
• ECG or EKG stands for electrocardiogram: The electrical signals in the heart are captured by an ECG, which is a rapid and painless examination. If the heart is beating too quickly or too slowly, it can detect this.
• Echocardiogram: Echo is based on the principle of Ultrasound and is an invaluable investigation after ECG. Echo provides information regarding pumping activity of heart (known as ejection fraction) and function of valves. Echo is very useful in diagnosing heart valve problems, heart attacks and in patients with heart failure.
• Holter surveillance: To tack the heart's activity during typical activities, a portable ECG device known as a Holter monitor is worn for a day or longer. A typical ECG may overlook aberrant heartbeats, which can be detected through this examination.
• Exercise or stress tests: Often, these tests involve riding a treadmill or a stationary bike while the heart rate is monitored. Exercise tests helps evaluate whether exercising can triggers heart disease symptoms and how the heart reacts to it.
• Heart catheterization: This test can identify blocked cardiac arteries. The heart is reached by inserting a long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel, typically in the groin or wrist., The dye passes through the catheter, to reach the heart's arteries. During the exam, the dye makes the arteries more visible on X-ray images.
• Cardiothoracic CT scan: A patient lies on a table within a doughnut-shaped machine for a heart CT scan. The machine's internal X-ray tube rotates around the body while taking pictures of the chest and heart.
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart: A magnetic field and radio waves are computer-generated which are used in a cardiac MRI to produce precise images of the heart.
In case a patient has an implanted device like a pacemaker or defibrillator some of these devices have capability of transmitting device information through a secured server to the treating physician. This type of remote monitoring capability of CIEDs can provide improved outcomes by reducing the risk of major adverse events.
(Dr Ramakrishna SVK, Consultant Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Care Hospital, Hyderabad)
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