5 Noninvasive Tests that Measure the Health of Your Heart (Stress test, Echocardiogram, EKG, Holter

Heart Health, Stress Test, Echocardiogram

It’s understandably stressful to experience symptoms that might be related to your heart. Thankfully, many diagnostic studies can measure your heart health, help pinpoint a potential concern, and guide your cardiologist in developing an effective treatment strategy.

Board-certified cardiologist Mohamad Salim Ani, MD, FACC, practicing at Ani Medical Group in Hazlet and Old Bridge, New Jersey, provides expert care for your heart. This includes offering the most advanced diagnostic studies available to assess your heart health and identify the reasons for your symptoms.

Stress test

Your heart typically responds differently to activity than it does to rest. A cardiac stress test evaluates your heart’s function when it’s experiencing strenuous physical activity and can help identify abnormalities that require further attention.

There are various types of stress tests available, including those that use medication rather than physical activity to get your heart pumping. This is very helpful for patients who can’t exercise to the point of “stressing” their heart because of deconditioning and various other issues.

Depending on your symptoms and overall health, Dr. Ani may recommend an advanced version of a stress test that uses positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) imaging to produce highly detailed images of your heart and major arteries.

Echocardiogram

The echocardiogram is a painless diagnostic study that uses the same sound wave technology as that found in ultrasounds performed during pregnancy. As a technician passes a small handheld device (transducer) over your chest, sound waves bounce off your heart.

These “echos” are transmitted to a computer, which creates a video image of your heart’s chambers, valves, walls, and blood vessels (aorta, arteries, and veins).

Dr. Ani uses an echocardiogram to identify abnormalities that may include:

EKG

An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a painless study that measures and records the electrical activity your heart muscles receive as your heart beats. These electrical impulses tell the muscles when to contract.

Dr. Ani may prescribe an EKG to help gauge your heart’s function when you’re experiencing unexplained chest pain, rapid heart rate and other concerning symptoms that may be associated with your heart’s electrical function.

Holter monitor

The Holter monitor is a small, battery-powered device that records the electrical activity of your heart for an extended period, typically 24 hours. The monitor is designed to be worn in a pouch that slips around your neck.

Wires attached to the monitor and then to your chest with sticky electrodes record the rhythm of your heart as you sleep, eat, and go about your daily activities. You participate in the study by keeping a log that highlights the time and activity you were engaged in when you noted symptoms.

The Holter monitor provides the same type of information as an EKG, but it gives Dr. Ani a more complete record of your heart’s electrical activity and the types of abnormal beats you’re experiencing.

Coronary CT angiography

The coronary CT angiography (CTA) merges computed tomography (CT scan) with multiple X-ray images to produce highly detailed and accurate cross-sectional images of your heart as it’s moving. An iodine-based contrast dye is also injected into one of your veins to highlight the coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to your heart.  

The coronary CTA provides Dr. Ani with a clear visual of the anatomy of your heart and the vessels associated with your heart function (aorta, arteries, and pulmonary veins). This helps him determine whether you have coronary artery disease due to the buildup of plaque or calcium deposits along your artery walls.

For expert cardiac care that may include noninvasive tests to assess your heart’s health, schedule a visit with Dr. Ani today. Call the office or book your appointment online.

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