The purpose of this page is to provide you with information explaining the nature of the test your doctor will refer you for.

Please note: After a test the results will be reviewed by a cardiologist and a report forwarded to your doctor, who will then be able to discuss the results with you at your next appointment.

12 Lead ECG

Purpose: To record the electrical activity of the heart.

The Test: Adhesive electrodes will be placed on the limbs and chest and attached to a ECG machine. The test will take about 5 minutes.

Preparation: Nil.

24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor

Purpose: To automatically record your blood pressure at regular intervals during the day and night over a 24 hour period.

The Test: A blood pressure cuff is placed on the upper arm attached to a small recorder carried over the shoulder. You will be asked to keep a diary of your activities and symptoms. You ought to go about your usual activities but will not be able to bathe/shower/swim. You will return to the office with the device after 24 hours.

Preparation:

  • Bathe/shower in the morning.
  • Wear a loose short-sleeved top.

Coronary Calcium CT Scan (Heartrisk Scan)

Purpose: To detect minute calcium deposits in the coronary arteries.

The Test: You will be asked to undress (from waist up, gowns provided). A technician will measure your blood pressure and perform a resting ECG (see Item 1). You will then be asked to lie on the CT scanner sliding bed and ECG leads will be attached to your chest. You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds whilst the bed moves through the scanner. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.

Time: Approximately 20 minutes.

Preparation: Wear a two piece outfit.

Echocardiogram

Purpose: To assess the structure and function of the heart by visualising the heart and blood flow, utilising high frequency sound (ultrasound) waves.

The Test: You will be asked to undress to the waist and lie on your side. A technician will perform the test by placing a small probe on the surface of the chest. Apart from the pressure of the probe on the chest, there is nothing else to feel and no risks.

Time: Approximately 45 minutes.

Preparation: Wear a two piece outfit.

Exercise (Stress) Test

Purpose: May be ordered to measure your exercise capacity, help diagnose exercise-related symptoms (such as chest pain) and assess treatment.

The Test: Involves exercising on a stationary bike or treadmill in the presence of a doctor and technician while your electrocardiogram, pulse and blood pressure are monitored continuously. The exercise will start at a low, gentle level and will gradually increase until the doctor feels it is appropriate to stop. Your recovery will then be monitored for a short time.

Time: Approximately 40 minutes.

Preparation: 

  • Unless specifically told, please continue to take all your usual medications prior to test.
  • Bring a list of current medication.
  • Do not eat for 2 hours prior to test.
  • Wear a comfortable two piece outfit and rubber-soled shoes suitable for exercise.
  • You will be asked to undress to the waist (ladies may leave their bra on) electrodes attached to the chest. Men may require some chest hair to be shaved.

Exercise Thallium

An exercise (stress) test which includes an injection of a safe weak radioactive material (Thallium) into a vein and two scans of the heart: one immediately and one after several hours. Used where the ECG alone may not provide diagnostic information. Instructions will be mailed to you once appointment is confirmed.

Holter Monitoring

Purpose: Record 24 hours of your heart beat using a small portable recorder.

The Test: Adhesive electrodes are placed on the chest and connected to a small recording unit worn on a belt or over the shoulder. You will be asked to keep a diary of your activities and any symptoms experienced during the 24 hours. You ought to go about your usual activities but will not be able to bathe/shower/swim. You will return to the office with the device after 24 hours.

Preparation:

  • Bath/shower in the morning.
  • Wear a two piece outfit.
  • Men may require some shaving of chest hair.

Patient Activated Recorder

Purpose: To record the heart beat for a short period when activated by you at the time you experience symptoms.

The Test: Adhesive electrodes will be placed on the chest and connected to a small recorder. When symptoms are experienced you will press a button to activate the device and note the event in a diary. The device may be used for a week or longer. It may be temporarily removed for showering.

Preparation:

  • Wear a two piece outfit.
  • Men may require some shaving of chest hair.

Stress Echocardiogram

An exercise stress test which includes an echocardiogram of the heart before and after exercise. This test is used when the normal exercise test alone may not provide adequate information or when additional information about heart function is required.