Cardiology Diagnostic Tests

Comprehensive Testing to Diagnose Cardiovascular Conditions and Diseases

Gottlieb offers diagnostic testing for cardiovascular health. Cardiac imaging consists of mostly non-invasive procedures for evaluating heart structure and function. State-of-the-art equipment quickly captures more effective images. Our experts also perform angiograms and catheter-based testing.

We provide the following tests:

  • Angiogram
  • Ankle/brachial index (ABI)
  • Cardiac CT scan (computed tomography)
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Cardiac stress test
  • Comprehensive hemodynamic evaluation
  • ECG or EKG (electrocardiogram)
  • Echocardiogram (2D and 3D)
  • Electrophysiology study

Angiogram

An angiogram provides a picture of blood flow inside an artery. General angiograms are used to evaluate the arteries in arms, legs, chest or abdomen. Special angiograms examine the arteries near the heart (coronary angiogram), lungs (pulmonary angiography), brain (cerebral angiogram) and aorta (aortogram).

Ankle/brachial index (ABI)

An ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is a non-invasive diagnostic test used to diagnose and predict the severity of peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral arterial disease, and other potential cardiovascular health problems in your legs.

Used to test blood pressure, ABI compares the blood pressure in your legs to the blood pressure in your arms. Under normal circumstances, the blood pressure in your arms and legs is the same. If the pressure in your ankles is lower, you might be at risk for peripheral vascular disease. Experts use the ratio of your ankle pressure to your brachial pressure as an indicator of the severity of your peripheral vascular disease—a disease that can result in risk of heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and leg pain. Peripheral artery disease can be a result of narrow arteries, artery blockage and poor circulation.

Cardiac CT scan

Computed tomography, commonly called a CT scan, is performed by our highly skilled radiologists. It is a non-invasive procedure that takes X-ray images of your heart anatomy, coronary circulation, aorta, pulmonary veins and arteries. The machine takes a picture of each part of your heart and utilizes a computer to compile the pictures into a complete 3D image.  The most common types of CT scans include:

  • Calcium-score screening
  • Coronary CT angiography, which utilizes a contrast agent to highlight your arteries
  • Cardiac CT for evaluation, heart structure, function and valves
  • CT angiography of the aorta, carotid, renal and peripheral arteries

A CT scan is generally used to diagnose and evaluate the following conditions:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Calcium buildup
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart function problems
  • Heart valve problems
  • Pericardial disease
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Peripheral vascular atherosclerosis

Cardiac catheterization

While many non-invasive cardiovascular imaging techniques are used to help aid in the diagnosis of heart conditions, in some cases a catheter (thin tube) is required to adequately assess pumping of the heart, heart valve function, blood flow and blood pressure.

Cardiac stress test

Commonly referred to as a heart stress test, the cardiac stress test utilizes exercise equipment or medicine to induce heart stimulation to aid in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease.

Your cardiologist or a trained technician will perform a cardiac stress test to determine the amount of stress your heart can manage before developing an irregular heart rhythm.

The most common heart stress tests include:

  • Stress echocardiogram (treadmill or dobutamine)
  • Stress nuclear test (treadmill or adenosine)
  • Treadmill exercise ECG

Cardiac stress tests are a non-invasive way to evaluate the health of your heart. In addition to testing for heart blockage, cardiac stress tests enable your doctor to:

  • Determine your risk for heart attack
  • Diagnose abnormal heart rhythms
  • Assess the blood flow to your heart at varying levels of activity
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of heart medications
  • Gauge the effectiveness of a previous heart procedure

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

Called both ECG and EKG, an electrocardiogram shows the electrical activity of the heart by applying ten electrodes to different areas of the patient's chest. It is used to diagnose heart disease.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to provide two- and three-dimensional images of your cardiovascular system, an echocardiogram measures blood velocity through your body, assesses the function of your heart muscle and detects damage to your heart and problems with your heart valves. Echocardiography creates detailed heart images that detect abnormalities in your heart structure. The two common types of echocardiograms are the 3D echo and the stress echo.

The 3D echo uses multiple sensors and sonogram technology to look at the heart from all directions, see the complex anatomy of the heart and measure how well the heart is working.

A stress echo uses sound waves to examine the heart chamber while you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle or with the use of medicines to stimulate the heart. This test can be used to visualize the motion of the heart's walls and pumping action when the heart is stressed.

Other types of echocardiograms include the Doppler echo, fetal echocardiogram, Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE).

Echocardiograms assist with the diagnosis of the following heart conditions:

  • Aneurysm
  • Cardiac tumor
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Valve disorders

Holter monitor and event recording

Holter monitoring and event recordings are used to diagnose heart rhythm problems. A Holter monitor is a portable device that keeps track of the electrical activity of your heart (electrocardiography or ECG) and is usually worn for 24 to 48 hours. Much like standard electrocardiography, a Holter monitor records electrical signals from the heart through a series of electrodes that are attached to your chest. The electrodes can detect an irregular heartbeat or other heart symptoms.

A cardiac event monitor, which also records heart activity, is turned on at the time of an “event” when you are experiencing a symptom. Your Loyola cardiologist may recommend a cardiac event monitor if your symptoms occur less than daily. Your doctor may ask you to wear the monitor for several days or up to a month. Turning on your monitor when you feel dizziness, chest pain, faintness or the sensation that your heart is skipping a beat can help to identify if there is a heart issue causing your symptoms.

Holter monitors and cardiac event monitors are used to evaluate how your heart responds to your normal activity and whether your heart exhibits signs of arrhythmia. These devices may also be used to evaluate your heart following a heart attack.

Vascular tests

  • Ankle-Brachial Index
  • Arterial duplex imaging
  • Carotid angiogram
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Catheter-based testing
  • Coronary angiogram
  • CT scan
  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
  • MRI
  • Vein mapping
  • Venous ultrasound​