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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

Baylor Heart Clinic

Procedures

At the Baylor Heart Clinic, we strive to provide the most comprehensive services to provide the best care for our patients. Our doctors have several areas of expertise, including areas of general cardiology, preventive cardiology, interventional cardiology, heart failure and cardiac transplantation, and electrophysiology (arrhythmias).

A few of the services and diagnostic procedures performed at the Baylor Heart Clinic are listed below.

Electrocardiograph (EKG) tests. These tests use the electrocardiogram to evaluate the electrical activity generated by the heart at rest and with activity.

Stress tests. A stress test helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. A stress test can be performed by having a patient exercise (sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test) or can be performed with medications that increase blood flow to the heart and thus "mimic" an exercise test. Stress testing may also be accompanied by nuclear imaging or echocardiograms. The clinic also performs cardiopulmonary exercise testing in certain situations.

Nuclear imaging. This method produces images by detecting radiation from different parts of the body after the administration of a radioactive tracer material. The most common type of nuclear test performed is a myocardial perfusion imaging test. It shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle and is usually done along with a stress test.

Echocardiogram. This is a technique that sends ultrasound, or high frequency sound waves to create graphic images of the heart's structure and pumping action. The recorded waves show the shape, texture and movement of the valves on an echocardiogram. It is done in the same way as ultrasound pictures of a fetus are taken in pregnant women.

Noninvasive testing of heart rhythms (holters, event recorders). These are tests that use small devices that are placed on the patient to record the electrical rhythm of the heart. These tests are used to investigate heart rate abnormalities (arrhythmias) and palpitations.

Interrogation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD)

Radiographic tests. These tests use x-ray machines or high tech machines (CT, MRI) to create pictures of the internal structures of the chest and heart.

Laboratory tests. Laboratory tests include a number of blood tests used to diagnose and monitor treatment for heart disease.