It is normal to feel anxious about
the testing that is being performed.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of these tests
or procedures, please feel free to ask your doctor or nurse.

Room Monitors and Telemetry

If you are in the Intensive Care Unit or the Telemetry Unit, electrocardiographic (EKG) electrodes (sponge pads) will be placed on your chest. The EKG electrodes will be connected to a monitor. The monitor gives the nurses and doctors a continuous picture of your heart’s electrical activity – information that helps plan your therapy. The EKG electrodes are very sensitive, so don’t be frightened if your movement activates the monitor’s alarm. This is a safety feature that alerts physicians and nurses regarding any significant changes in the rate or rhythm of your heart beat. A Holter monitor may also be ordered by your physician. This monitor is worn by the patient and retains a constant record of your heart rhythm on a tape recorder.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An electrocardiogram (EKG) gives an electrical “picture” of how your heart is working. The test requires only that you lie still while the technician puts electrodes (sponge pads) on your chest. The test takes about five minutes. (Preparation for electrocardiogram: None)

Stress Test (Exercise Test / Stress Echo done in office)

A stress test allows us to see how your heart is working during the stress of exercise, and just after exercise. The exercise device or stress test can be performed on a treadmill.

During the test, you are connected to a monitor by EKG electrodes (sponge pads). A doctor watches and evaluates you very closely. The Standard Bruce Protocol will be used, which entails changes in speed and elevation every three minutes. Feel free to communicate to your physician how you are feeling throughout the test. After the stress test is over you will return to a table for post-exercise EKG and to relax.

Preparation for stress test

  • Nothing to eat or drink for 3-4 hours prior to taking the test (other than medication).
  • Wear good walking shoes (rubber soles, if possible).
  • Some medication may be withheld temporarily prior to the stress test. You will receive specific information from the nurse or physician prior to taking the test.

During the stress test, it is important to let the physician or nurse know if you:

  • Have any severe fatigue, nausea, or difficulty breathing.
  • Have any chest pain, jaw or back discomfort.
  • Experience lightheadedness or dizziness.

Echocardiogram (Echo) or ultrasound test of the heart

The echocardiogram is a procedure that records the movement of the heart’s valves and chamber walls. It is noninvasive and takes about 25-30 minutes to complete.

You will remove upper body clothing and lie quietly on a table or bed. A technician will place a small transducer on your chest wall. The transducer sends high frequency sound waves over the various heart structures. The sound waves are converted to electronic signals and recorded for comparison to normal heart movements. (Preparation for echocardiogram: None)

Nuclear Medicine Studies (Heart Scans)

A cardiac nuclear scan is a special type of picture in which a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein, following which a special camera and computer make pictures of the heart. Pictures will be taken before and after exercise. You are connected through electrodes and your heart will be monitored during exercise.

There are three types of heart scans used:

Technetium Pyrophosphate Scan

Wall Motion Test

Thallium Scan

The procedure may take about 2 – 3 hours and sometimes it is necessary to take further pictures of the heart 4 hours and 24 hours after the initial picture-taking session.

Preparation for nuclear studies:

  • Some medications may be withheld.
  • Nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours before the test if the test is combined with a stress test. This may not be necessary if the test is being done in a resting state. You will receive instructions from our office prior to taking the test.
  • Wear good walking shoes (if combined with a stress test).
  • If you are pregnant (or suspect that you might be pregnant), let your physician or nurse know; such a test should not generally be done on pregnant patients.

During the nuclear medicine test, it is important to let the physician or nurse know if you have:

  • Any unusual feelings in the chest, arms, neck, jaw or back.
  • Severe fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

GENERAL INFORMATION

IT IS THE NATURE OF OUR PRACTICE TO MAKE EMERGENCIES OUR PRIORITY.

On occasion, it does happen that our physicians have to handle emergencies and thus cause the appointments to run behind. Please understand that we will do our best to get to you in a timely manner. In the event that a physician is late and there will be a substantial wait time, our office staff will give you updates as to when the physician will arrive.

If you are diabetic, please bring food with you in the event that you have to wait for your appointment.

Family members may wait in the room with the patient or in designated waiting areas.