2D/ 3D Echocardiography
Echocardiography is a test that uses sound waves to produce live images of your heart. The image is an echocardiogram. This test allows your doctor to monitor how your heart and its valves are functioning. The images can help them spot:
• blood clots in the heart
• fluid in the sac around the heart
• problems with the aorta, which is the main artery connected to the heart
An echocardiogram is key in determining the health of the heart muscle, especially after a heart attack. It can also reveal heart defects in unborn babies.
Your doctor may order an echocardiogram for several reasons. For example, they may have discovered an abnormality from other testing or while listening to your heartbeat through a stethoscope. If you have an irregular heartbeat, your doctor may want to inspect the heart valves or chambers or check your heart’s ability to pump. They may also order one if you’re showing signs of heart problems, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
There are several different types of echocardiograms –
The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic tool that is routinely used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart. While it is a relatively simple test to perform, the interpretation of the ECG tracing requires significant amounts of training. Numerous textbooks are devoted to the subject.
The heart is a two stage electrical pump and the heart’s electrical activity can be measured by electrodes placed on the skin. The electrocardiogram can measure the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, as well as provide indirect evidence of blood flow to the heart muscle.
A standardized system has been developed for the electrode placement for a routine ECG. Ten electrodes are needed to produce 12 electrical views of the heart. An electrode lead, or patch, is placed on each arm and leg and six are placed across the chest wall. The signals received from each electrode are recorded. The printed view of these recordings is the electrocardiogram.
By comparison, a heart monitor requires only three electrode leads – one each on the right arm, left arm, and left chest. It only measures the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. This kind of monitoring does not constitute a complete ECG.
Cardiac Enzyme Test
A cardiac enzyme test is one means for assessing if a person is currently experiencing or recently had a heart attack. If you have come to the emergency department with chest pain, cardiac enzymes may be drawn two or three times, several hours apart. It can also be used to check the functioning of the heart after coronary artery bypass graft surgery or angioplasty.
How Does It Work?
There are several types of cardiac enzyme tests. These tests can measure blood levels of the enzyme creatine phosphokinase (CPK), also called creatine kinase (CK), and a more specific form of this enzyme called CK-MB. Additionally, cardiac enzyme tests can be used to check blood levels of the proteins myoglobin and troponin. When the heart muscle is damaged, these substances are released from the heart muscle cells into the bloodstream. CPK is also released by other damaged tissues in the body (the brain, for example), so a CPK test must be used in conjunction with symptom evaluation and other tests (possibly including other cardiac enzyme tests) to confirm a heart attack.
How Is It Performed?
A cardiac enzyme test is like any other blood test. Having blood drawn typically only takes a few minutes. You will be asked to roll up your shirt sleeve (if necessary) and the medical professional who will be drawing the blood will swab the area where the needle will be inserted with an alcohol wipe. A rubber tube may be tied around the upper part of your arm, or you may be asked to make a fist, to make the veins stand out more and easier to access.
A needle attached to a small test tube will be inserted into your vein and blood will begin to flow into the tube. When a sample that is appropriate for the test has been gathered, the needle will be removed, and you may be asked to press on a piece of gauze placed over the insertion site. This pressure will help stop any bleeding from the tiny puncture site. A bandage will then be placed over the site where the needle was inserted.
Your blood sample will then be sent to lab technicians for analysis. You will receive information when you have the blood test as to when you can expect results.