Non-Invasive Tests and Procedures

Updated:Sep 16,2016

Learn more about common tests you may need to take.

Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG)

(Also known as Electrocardiography)
 

What the Test Does
Records the electrical activity of the heart including the timing and duration of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
 

Reason for Test

  • Determines that a heart attack has occurred.
  • Helps predict if a heart attack is developing.
  • Monitors changes in heart rhythm.
Learn more about electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).

(Also known as Electrocardiography)
 

What the Test Does
Records the electrical activity of the heart including the timing and duration of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
 

Reason for Test

  • Determines that a heart attack has occurred.
  • Helps predict if a heart attack is developing.
  • Monitors changes in heart rhythm.
Learn more about electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).

(Also known as Holter Monitoring or Ambulatory ECG or Ambulatory EKG)
 

What the Test Does
Records the electrical activity of the heart during daily activities.

Reason for Test

  • Documents and describes abnormal electrical activity in the heart during daily activities to help doctors determine the condition of the heart.
  • Helps determine the best possible treatments.
Learn more about Holter Monitors.

What the Test Does
Takes a picture of the heart, lungs and bones of the chest.


Reason for Test

  • Determines whether the heart is enlarged or if fluid is accumulating in the lungs as a result of the heart attack.

Learn more about chest x-rays.

What the Test Does
A hand-held device placed on the chest that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce images of your heart's size, structure and motion.

Reason for Test

  • Provides valuable information about the health of your heart.
  • Helps gather information about abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias) in the heart.
Learn more about echocardiograms.

(Also known as Tomography. This section includes CT, CAT scan, EBCT, PET, DCA, DSA, Multidetector CT or MDCT, MRI and SPECT)

What the Test Does
Computer imaging (tomography) refers to several non-invasive diagnostic-imaging tests that use computer-aided techniques to gather images of the heart. A computer creates three-dimensional (3-D) images that can show blockages caused by calcium deposits you may have in your coronary arteries.

Reason for Test

  • Evaluates aortic disease (such as aortic dissection), cardiac masses and pericardial disease.
Learn more about Cardiac Computed Tomography.

(Also known as Treadmill Test, Exercise Test, Exercise Cardiac Stress Test and ECST)
 

What the Test Does
A monitor with electrodes that are attached to the skin on the chest area to record your heart function while you walk in place on a treadmill. Many aspects of your heart function can be checked including heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, ECG (EKG) and how tired you become when exercising.
 

Reason for Test

  • Helps diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD).
  • Helps diagnose the possible cause of symptoms such as chest pain (angina).
  • Helps determine your safe level of exercise.
  • Helps predict dangerous heart-related conditions such as heart attack.
Learn more about exercise stress test.

(Also known as Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI), Multigated Acquisition (MUGA) Scan, Radionuclide Stress Test and Nuclear Stress Test)

What the Test Does
Similar to a routine exercise stress test but with images. Uses radioactive substance called thallium injected into the bloodstream when patient is at maximum level of exercise to take pictures with a special (gamma) camera of the heart's muscle cells.
 

Reason for Test

  • Helps measure blood flow of your heart muscle at rest and during stress.
  • Helps determine extent of a coronary artery blockage.
  • Helps determine extent of damage from heart attack.
  • Helps determine cause of chest pain (angina).
  • Helps determine level of safe exercise for patients.
Learn more about Radionuclide Ventriculography or Radionuclide Angiography (MUGA Scan).


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This content was last reviewed July 2015.