Heart Testing

St. Francis offers both skilled physicians and advanced technology to determine the cause of heart disease and chest pain, which helps determine the best treatment.

When diagnosing heart conditions, we use the most advanced minimally-invasive technology to arrive at a diagnosis with as little discomfort as possible. Other times, physicians need information that can only be determined by using a more traditional test. Some of the tests available at St. Francis include:

Non-invasive and Minimally Invasive Tests

Cardiac calcium scoring is a non-invasive procedure that uses CT images to give detailed images from inside the heart to detect plaque on the coronary arteries, useful to diagnose potential problems in patients who don’t have symptoms of heart disease. Physicians can give patients a score that correlates with their risk level of developing heart disease from the 15-minute procedure.

Our state-of-the-art CT angiography imaging system has changed how physicians diagnose heart disease and chest pain, allowing them to discover the cause of chest pain and identify clogged arteries and coronary heart disease in one fast, reliable scan.

  • Enzymes in the blood are clues that can help physicians determine the presence and extent of heart damage. Enzyme tests require blood to be drawn only from the arm.
  • During an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), electrodes are applied to your chest to record electrical activity in the heart. The electrical activity can help determine the location and extent of heart damage.
  • A chest X-ray shows the size and position of the heart and lungs.
  • An echocardiogram checks the heart muscle by using sound waves.
  • Holter monitors are like portable EKGs, and allow you to record heart activity while at home.
  • A multigated acquisition scan is similar to an EKG, but requires an IV, and monitors how well the heart pumps blood by looking at its chambers and blood vessels.
  • Stress testing checks blood flow through the heart while exercising.
  • A tilt table test is similar to an EKG, but requires an IV and requires you to lie on a table that is periodically tilted up. This test is used to determine the cause of fainting spells.

Traditional Tests

  • A cardiac catheterization is a radiology exam that visualizes the inside of the coronary arteries. Cardiac catheterizations can be both diagnostic and interventional, and physicians often will treat a blockage immediately following the diagnostic catheterization.
  • Electrophysiology studies (EP) determine if there is an abnormal electrical circuit in the heart.