Cardiology Testing

  • Heart Testing
  • EKG Testing
  • Echocardiogram
  • 2D Echocardiogram Doppler
  • 24 hours Holter Monitoring
Patient with sensor — Aesthetic Physicians in Richlands, Virginia
Stethoscope and a waveform — Aesthetic Physicians in Richlands, Virginia

EKG Testing

What Is An EKG Cardiovascular Test Looking For?
If you're experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or palpitations your doctor may suggest that you have an electrocardiogram. This cardiovascular test, abbreviated as EKG or ECG* is a non-invasive test typically performed in your doctor's office and measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat.

How Is an Electrocardiogram Conducted?
No special patient preparation is required for an EKG test. During the test, you will lie on an exam table and a technician will place several small sensors on your chest, arms and legs. These sensors have wires called leads which connect to the electrocardiogram machine. They create a 3D map of your heart's natural electrical rhythms, which can immediately show whether you have any unusual heart activity. The sensors don't deliver any electrical current; they only record your body's own natural heart rhythms. The test lasts for six seconds, and the results are printed out and can be interpreted immediately. What an EKG Is Looking For This test primarily checks the rhythmic behavior of different chambers of your heart. By measuring the time interval of the ECG a doctor can determine how long it is taking an electrical wave to pass through your heart. This shows if the activity is normal, fast, slow or irregular. It also measures the amount of electrical activity passing through the heart which helps your cardiologist find out if your heart is enlarged or is overworked.

EKGs Tell the story of Your Heart
An EKG can help physicians diagnose a real-time emergency, such as a heart attack in progress, but it can also help detect patterns that emerge over time. For example, if you have high blood pressure, the EKG may show that your heart has become enlarged due to the extra work of pumping blood under higher pressure. EKGs can also detect when the electrolyte levels in your blood are too high or too low, as those variations change the heart's conductivity. Finally, the test can identify changes in your heart that occurred as a result of a past heart attack. This is important because some people may have had a heart attack without their knowledge and the EKG can show the presence of cardiac damage that requires treatment Additional Cardiovascular Tests

Additional Cardiovascular Tests
In some cases, especially if you have intermittent symptoms, a. six-second snapshot of heart activity doesn't provide enough information. Small portable EKG machines (called "Holter Monitor”) can be carried in a bag or backpack and provide a continuous record over the course of 24 hours. During such a test period, you can do almost anything you normally would, except for bathing or showering.


What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your hear. The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.

Why do people need an echo test?
Your doctor may use an echo test to look at your heart’s structure and check how well you heart functions. The test helps doctors find out:
  • The size and shape of your heart, and the size, thickness and movement of your heart’s walls
  • How your heart moves
  • The heart’s pumping strength
  • If the heart valves are working correctly
  • If blood is leaking backwards through your hearts valves
  • If the heart valves are too narrow
  • If there is a tumor or infectious growth around your heart valves
  • The test also helps your doctor find out if there are:
  • Problems with the outer lining of your heart
  • Problems with the large blood vessels that enter and leave the heart
  • Blood clots in the chambers of you heart
  • Abnormal holes between the chambers of the heart

What are the Risks?
  • An echo can’t harm you
  • An echo doesn’t hurt and has no side effects

24 hours Holter Monitoring

What is a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is a device commonly used to keep track of your heart rhythm.

Your doctor can use a Holter monitor to keep track of your heart function if you're having heart problems or they think there may be a problem.

Make sure to engage in your normal activities and keep the Holter monitor dry while your heart is being monitored. Your doctor will remove the monitor when testing is finished and carefully go over your results to determine the next step.

A Holter monitor is a small, battery-powered medical device that measures your heart's activity, such as rate and rhythm. Your doctor may ask you to use one if they need more information about how your heart functions than a routine EKG can give them.

Twenty-four hour Holter monitoring is a continuous test to record your heart's rate and rhythm for 24 hours. You wear the Holter monitor for 12 to 48 hours as you go about your normal daily routine. This device has electrodes and electrical leads exactly like a regular EKG but it has fewer leads. It can pick up not only your heart's rate and rhythm but also when you feel chest pains or exhibit symptoms of an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.

Holter monitor testing is also sometimes called ambulatory electrocardiography. There are other types of devices that can be used to measure heart activity for longer periods of time.

Uses for Holter monitoring
An EKG is a medical test that's used to measure your heart rate and rhythm. It's also used to look for other abnormalities that may affect normal heart function. During an EKG electrodes are placed on your chest to check your heart's rhythm, You may experience heart rhythm irregularities that don't show up at the time the EKG is done because you're only hooked up to the machine for a very brief amount of time.

Abnormal heart rhythms and other types of cardiac symptoms can come and go. Monitoring for a longer period of time is necessary to record these events. The Holter monitor lets your doctor see how your heart functions on a long-term basis. The recordings made by the monitor help your doctor determine if your heart is getting enough oxygen or if the electrical impulses in the heart are delayed or early. These irregular impulses may be referred to as arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms.

If you're already being treated for heart problems, wearing your monitor can help your doctor determine if your medicine is working or if changes need to be made. It can also help them to see why you might be experiencing other symptoms of irregular heartbeat, such as dizziness, fainting, or feeling like your heart is racing or skipping a beat.

How it Works
The Holter monitor is small. It's slightly larger than a deck of playing cards. Several leads, or wires, are attached to the monitor. The leads connect to electrodes that are placed on the skin of your chest with a glue-like gel. The metal electrodes conduct your heart's activity through the wires and into the Holter monitor, where it's recorded.

You wear a small pouch around your neck that holds the monitor itself. It's important to keep the monitor close to your body during the testing period to make sure the readings are accurate. Your doctor will show you how to reattach electrodes if they become loose or fall off during the testing period.

You'll get instructions that explain how to take care of your monitor and what not to do while you're wearing it. It's important to avoid bathing, showering, and swimming while you're wearing the monitor.

You're encouraged to participate in your normal activities during the 24-hour Holter test. You'll be directed to attach your monitor if you're allergic to any tapes or adhesives.

A 24-hour Holter monitor test is painless. However, be sure to record any chest pain, rapid heartbeat, or other cardiac symptoms you have during the testing period.