Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Medical Center offers the following heart failure studies and diagnostic tests:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – uses sticky tabs that hold painless transmitting wires on the chest to measure the electrical activity of the heart and determine previous heart attack activity, current heart attack activity, and heart enlargement
- Echocardiogram (echo) – produces images of heart walls, valves and blood flow using sound waves. Ejection fraction – the volume of blood ejected during each contraction – can also be measured. This painless test uses a scanner probe moved over your chest.
- Exercise stress test (treadmill test) – monitors blood pressure and heart function during exercise on a treadmill at different speeds, enabling the physician to gauge how the heart responds to different levels of exertion and whether EKG changes during exercise.
- Tracer Studies (MUGA, radionuclide ventriculography, gated blood pool imaging) – a radioactive tracer is introduced into the blood stream, and as the tracer passes through the heart, doctors can outline its chambers to measure the ejection fraction and the blood flow to the heart muscle
- Trans-esophageal echo (TEE) – the echo probe is put in the esophagus to obtain more detailed pictures of your heart
- Right heart catheterization (Swan-Ganz catheter) – evaluates the pressures in the right side of the heart and lungs as well as overall fluid status. Your cardiac output (the amount of blood being pumped out of your heart) can be measured this way. An IV inserted into the neck holds a catheter that may be taken out immediately or left in for a few days while the patient is in the hospital to monitor effects of medications on heart function.
- Left heart catheterization (cath) –a small tube is placed in the artery in the groin to enable surgeons to inject dye and pass instruments into the coronary arteries to measure blockage and pumping strength.