Determining the best course of treatment for a heart condition may begin with one or more diagnostic tests to understand how the heart is functioning. These heart tests can be performed in the office of a Scripps cardiologist or at our hospitals, clinics and outpatient imaging centers.
Scripps uses state-of-the-art screening technology to ensure patients receive a comprehensive evaluation to aid in medical diagnoses and developing an effective treatment plan. Diagnostic testing and procedures for the heart at Scripps include non-imaging tests, imaging and nuclear imaging.
- Physical exam
- Blood tests, including those to measure glucose and lipids
- Electrocardiogram (also known as ECG or EKG)
- Electrocardiography stress test
- Ambulatory electrocardiography (also known as Holter monitor)
- Cardiac catheterization
- Electrophysiology study (also known as EPS)
- Head upright tilt test (also known as tilt table test)
- Myocardial biopsy
Imaging of the heart is often central to collaboration among treatment teams before, during and after heart procedures and surgeries. For example, physicians at Scripps specializing in 3-D echocardiograms work real-time with surgeons during interventional procedures such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
Scripps is a leader in training hospital heart teams on this leading-edge combination of structural cardiology intervention and imaging.
If you have signs or symptoms of a cardiovascular problem such as chest pain or tightness, an imaging exam may be part of your overall heart care. Imaging exams and procedures for the heart at Scripps include:
- Chest X-ray
- Heart computed tomography (CT) scan
- Heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Heart fluoroscopy
- Vascular ultrasound (also known as duplex ultrasound)
- Intravascular ultrasound (also known as IVUS)
- 3-D echocardiogram
- HeartFlow FFR-CT analysis
- Stress echocardiogram
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (also known as TEE)
- Coronary angiography (also known as cardiac angiogram)
Nuclear heart imaging exams involve using an injection of a small amount of safe, radioactive tracer into the bloodstream. For nuclear imaging of the cardiovascular system, the tracer is viewed with a gamma detector as it moves with the blood through the heart, creating computer-generated images. Nuclear imaging procedures for diagnosing heart conditions at Scripps may include:
- Blood volume test performed to measure the amount of blood in the body, as well as the volume of red blood cells and plasma
- Heart positron emission tomography (PET) scan that can determine if areas of heart muscle are getting enough blood
- Multigated acquisition scan (MUGA) to examine the pumping function of the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart)
- Nuclear exercise stress test that tracks and measures blood flow to the heart at rest and during and after exercising at a target heart rate on a treadmill or stationary bicycle
- Pharmacological nuclear stress test that tracks and measures blood flow to the heart at rest and after medication is provided to dilate vessels and increase the heart rate
- Hemodynamic test that evaluates the function of the heart and circulation and can help pinpoint the cause of circulation abnormalities such as syncope, a momentary loss of consciousness due to decreased blood flow to the brain