24 Hour Holter Monitoring
Holter or event monitoring is a tracing technique used for patients whose heart conditions cannot be properly diagnosed through an EKG or other typical tests. These medical devices record the electrical activity of the heart and are often used to diagnose arrhythmias or myocardial ischemia, conditions that may or may not cause symptoms.
Since an EKG only lasts for a few minutes, it may not detect any heart abnormalities if they are not present at that time. The Holter monitor is worn for 24 to 48 hours and records the heart's activity throughout that time. This helps to detect arrhythmias that may only occur at certain times, such as after physical exertion.
There is no risk involved in using a Holter monitor. Although some conditions still may not be diagnosed with this device, it is often helpful in identifying the cause of heart rhythm problems.
Echocardiography, also known as an ultrasound of the heart, is a diagnostic test used to examine the heart by creating images out of sound waves. This helps determine the size and shape of the heart, as well as how well the different components are functioning.
An echocardiogram can be used to examine:
- The size of the heart
- The strength of the heart muscles
- Heart valve malfunctions
- Heart structure abnormalities
- Problems in the aorta
- Blood clots or tumors
The results of the test are often used to diagnose high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, aneurysms or other heart conditions.
There are several different types of echocardiography, used to diagnose different conditions. All procedures are minimally invasive and may be performed during a cardiac stress test or as a routine pregnancy exam. The most common type of echocardiogram test is a transthoracic echocardiogram, which uses a transducer to collect an ultrasound image.
An echocardiogram is a painless procedure performed in your doctor's office in less than an hour. You may be required to fast for 8 hours before the exam, in order for a special dye to be visible within the heart. The images of the heart are shown on a video monitor in real time for the doctor and patient to view during the exam. The results are fully analyzed by your doctor after the exam. There are no risks associated with an echocardiogram, and patients can return to their normal activities immediately after the exam.
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