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Cardiac problems are on a rise across the world owing to the peopleâ€™s sedentary lifestyles and eating habits. Adding to these are hereditary disorders that might be acquired by a person through his parents. Pulsating pain in the left side of the chest, feeling uneasy and a rapid heartbeat are a couple of things that you should always watch out for. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms that might indicate a hidden heart problem, a Cardiologist can diagnose it for you.
To either confirm or rule out a possible Heart defect, here are few common tests your Cardiologist would suggest.
1. Electrocardiogram (ECG):
The oldest and most commonly used diagnostic test to detect irregular heartbeat and also muscle damage. This test records the electrical activity in the heart. The results are just perfect and help the doctor in treating the disorder.
2. Treadmill ECG or the Stress test:
Breathing, cardiac activity and blood pressure are monitored while the person is walking on a treadmill or cycles on a pedestal fitness cycle. This is only to record the heart activity during exercise. Coronary artery diseases can be easily detected by this test.
3. Holter Monitor test:
A portable ECG machine is fixed to the chest of an individual and is allowed to record heart activity while he goes on with his day-to-day routine. After 24 to 48hours, the device is collected and submitted to the cardiologist for diagnosis. Such devices are battery operated and do not need any intervention.
4. Chest X-ray:
A chest x-ray is required if the doctor wants to check the structure of the heart. In some cases, pacemakers, defibrillators, tubes and other special devices are inserted to maintain heart health. An x-ray can throw more light on the placement of these devices. Pregnant women cannot undergo a heart x-ray, so mention your condition to your cardiologist if you are carrying.
5. Tilt Table test:
A person who faints for no reason or experiences such fainting spells frequently needs to undergo a tilt table test. The patient is connected to ECG and blood pressure monitors and strapped to a table that tilts him from standing to a lying down position. When he stands or falls flat, if his blood pressure falls and irregular cardiac activity is seen, the cardiologist proceeds to treat him.
6. CT Heart scan:
Computed tomography, known as a CT scan in common language, helps the doctor in visualizing the heart tissues, arteries, veins, blood vessels, circulation and the aorta. In short, a CT scan gives a clear picture of the heartâ€™s anatomy. This test is performed without any dye injection that is usually used to see the veins.
Our heart is protected by a small sac called the pericardium. Sometimes, this sac is filled with pus cells and cancerous cells, putting a lot of pressure on the heart and slowing down its blood pumping ability. In such cases, a pericardial tap (a needle and a catheter) removes fluid from the sac. This sample is sent for examination to rule out heart cancer and other infections.
8. MRI of the Heart:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most complicated diagnostic test among all evaluations. Large sized magnets, a computer and radio frequencies combine to show if the heart is functioning well. This test is commonly used for people with congenital heart diseases, heart tumours and other cardiac abnormalities.
9. Myocardial Biopsy:
When a tumour, cyst or inflammation is detected in the body, a biopsy is conducted to check if it is cancerous in nature. A small tissue of the organ is removed and sent to the laboratory for further tests. The same is done to the heart too and it is called myocardial biopsy. A tiny piece of the heart tissue is removed through a special tube and is sent for examination.