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Heart Functioning Test and their Interpretation

heart functioning test and their interpretation
HWC Team
December25/ 2015

The cardiac tests are conducted to enable patient stratification that is at a risk for symptomatic coronary art disease (CAD), mainly for the complications in the short time like myocardial infarction or an unexpected cardiac arrest. These tests could either be invasive or non-invasive.

One important all en-compassing and essential test is coronary angiography and the optional tests are exercise stress, pharmacologic stress, myocardial profusion imaging, stress echocardiography and cardiac computed tomography scanning. These can be performed in the doctor’s chamber as well while you are admitted in hospital. Amongst many some of the most important tests that doctors recommend are as follows:

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

On your first visit to a cardiologist, an electrocardiogram is normally performed. It provides you basic information about the heart’s structure and if any arrhythmias. The electric potential of your heart is measured from 12 different directions and also informs you about the heart’s baseline rate and rhythm and heart blocks too if there are any. You can also learn about possible signs of ischemia. But EKGs have limitations too because certain problems might not be evident especially when the heart moves very fast.


It is a non-invasive cardiac screening test. It captures the various areas of a beating heart showcasing patterns of blood flow and also gives exact measurement of wall thickness and size of the heart chambers. Loose and leaky or restricted or tight valves are easily identified too. Detection of a heart enlargement is also possible and if there is a presence of any fluid around the heart. Information on ejection function which is the percentage of blood that flows out of the heart after every heartbeat is also measured through the test. Images are taken at rest and after exercise and are then compared.

Exercise / Nuclear Stress Test

During physical exertion your heart rate and BP automatically increases. When an exercise stress test is conducted to assess the functioning of the heart then it is called a nuclear stress test. It is highly recommended to take the Cadillac of stress tests if you are suffering from any of the symptoms of heart disease. A finding in this test is considered positive if there is a restriction of blood flow in one or more of the different regions of the heart.

Holter Monitoring

This is used to record every heart beat in a period of 24 hours. You need to wear this on a shoulder strap or belt. Sometimes signs of ischemia are recorded on a holter and also measures heart rate variability. A poor HRV is a sure shot risk factor for any heart disease as it is related to the autonomic nervous system calculating factors in relation to psychological distress.

BNP Test

When you experience breathing difficulties it could be a symptom of any heart problem and this blood and heart test identifies this peptide in your bloodstream to confirm if the shortness of breath is due to a weak heart. This BNP test measures the level of B-type natriuretic peptide in the bloodstream. When this increases, there is inflammation and shortness of breath. So more the BNP, the more pronounced is the heart failure. Thus, it’s one of the fastest ways to determine the cause.

HWC Team

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