Diagnostics and Testing
Our cardiologists and other providers are skilled in performing advanced
diagnostic tests to detect heart conditions and determine patients’
risk for heart disease.
Medical History and Physical Examination
A comprehensive medical history and physical exam is the first step in
treating patients with, or at risk of, heart disease. We will assess your
cardiovascular health while learning about you, your lifestyle and your
Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG)
Electrocardiography is a commonly used, non-invasive procedure for recording
electrical changes in the heart. It’s a starting point for detecting
many cardiac problems. The record, which is called an electrocardiogram
(ECG or EKG), shows the series of waves that relate to the electrical
impulses, which occur during each beat of the heart. The results are printed
on paper or displayed on a monitor.
Exercise Stress Test
Also known as a treadmill test, an exercise electrocardiogram is a test
that checks for changes in your heart while you exercise.
Electrophysiology studies, or EPS, use cardiac catheterization techniques
to study patients with irregular heartbeats (called arrhythmias). EPS
shows how the heart reacts to controlled electrical signals. Any dysfunction
in the heart’s electrical conduction system can make the heart beat
too fast, too slowly, or at an uneven rate, thus causing an arrhythmia.
Also called ambulatory monitoring, this “real-time” test looks
for evidence of heart problems that come and go and that are not apparent
when a standard ECG is performed. Ambulatory monitoring is particularly
useful in diagnosing heart arrhythmias and cardiac ischemia.
An echocardiogram is a diagnostic examination of a person’s heart.
Doctors use high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to look at the size,
shape and motion of the heart. In addition to the standard test, there
are specialized echocardiograms:
- Stress echocardiogram: This test stresses the heart through exercise or
an injection to measure how the heart responds.
- Myocardial Contrast Echocardiography: This new technology allows physicians
to use “microbubbles” for a more accurate diagnosis in certain
Performed at OHSU, cardiac catheterization involves passing a thin flexible
tube, called a catheter, through an artery or a vein to the heart, and
into a coronary artery. This procedure produces X-ray images (called angiograms)
of the coronary arteries and the left ventricle, the heart’s main
pumping chamber. They also can be used to measure pressures in the pulmonary
artery and to monitor heart function.
Though heart disease is a common and dangerous condition, much of the damage
can be undone through exercise and diet. Our
cardiac rehabilitation program puts patients in a supervised training regimen designed to help
them improve their cardiovascular system. By working one-on-one with a
rehab therapist, you can create a customized workout plan tailored to
your specific health needs.