For several conditions related to the heart, a set of common diagnostic procedures are conducted to analyse the condition or the disease further. Here is a glossary of all the diagnostic procedures employed:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG gives information about the heart’s electrical activity. Several small patches, called electrodes are placed at specific locations on the body which collect information about the heart’s electrical activity. This information is sent to the device that is connected to the electrodes. The machine prints this information in the form of a graph. And ECG can show arrhythmia, heart valve problems, damage due to lack of oxygen to the heart muscle (also called, a heart attack), and other types of heart conditions.
  • Echocardiogram: Echocardiogram is used to understand the size, shape, and functioning of the heart muscle. Using an ultrasound, it creates a moving picture of the heart as it functions. Your doctor can understand about the working of your heart valves, and blood flow through the heart using an echocardiogram.
  • Continuous portable ECG monitoring: A portable device that helps to monitor the heart’s electrical activity regularly outside the hospital.
  • Cardiac MRI Scan: MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging creates detailed images of the internal organs, soft tissues, bones, and all other internal body structures. Cardiac MRI helps to understand the function and structure of the heart valves, heart muscle, the surrounding structures, and the major blood vessels related to the heart. The MRI uses a magnetic field to generate images. This procedure could help evaluate the effects of coronary artery disease.
  • Cardiac CT Scan: A CT (Computed Tomography) Scan also creates detailed images of the internal organ structure, muscles, and vessels. A CT scan shoots multiple x-rays to create a 3-D image of the internal structure. In a cardiac CT Scan, a 3-D image of the entire heart in created. This scan helps your doctor understand calcium buildup in the arteries, heart valve problems, problems with the aorta, and problems with heart function.
  • Stress test, or Exercise ECG: You are connected to the machine like an ECG. However, instead of lying down, you will walk on a treadmill, or pedal on a stationary bike, and the ECG will be captured. This captures details of your heart’s activity while under stress, or during exercise.
  • Chest X-Ray: Chest x-ray is performed to understand the heart and the lungs. Often, this is used to assess congestive heart failure, or other heart, and lung conditions. Fluid accumulation in the lungs also shows up in the x-ray.
  • Cardiac Catheterisation and Angiography: In the cardiac catherisation procedure, a long thin tube is inserted in the artery or vein through the leg or arm, to reach the heart. After the catherisation, several procedures could be done to treat the underlying idease. In angiography, a dye is inserted into the blood vessel to see the insides of the artery clearly.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): This diagnostic test helps to show the valves and the chambers of the heart without the ribs or the lungs. This is achieved by sending a small ultrasound probe down the oesophagus. The sound waves from this probe creates the image.
  • Pulmonary function tests: These are a combination of tests that detect the lung’s capacity to take air in and out. This is done with devices that you breathe into.
  • Perfusion lung scan: Using a small amount of radioactive substance, your doctor will find changes in the arteries between the heart and the lungs. This is also used to check lung function.
  • Myocardial biopsy: In this invasive procedure,A small piece of the heart tissue is obtained to be studied in the lab for infection, inflammation or abnormalities.
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