An accurate diagnosis is the first step to an effective, personalized treatment plan. Our heart team works to carefully diagnose your condition, so we can plan the treatment you need. We use advanced imaging and diagnostic equipment in order to obtain a precise diagnosis.
Heart Diagnosis in Tampa, FL
We begin the diagnosis by performing a comprehensive physical exam and asking you about your medical history. We treat many types of heart conditions. Learn more about heart conditions we treat.
After the exam, we will discuss the various diagnostic procedures with you. We are usually able to use noninvasive procedures to diagnose heart conditions. Noninvasive tests are painless imaging procedures or other tests that help us determine:
- If you have heart disease
- The severity of the disease
- The appropriate treatment options
Noninvasive Cardiac Diagnostic Procedures
Our team performs these diagnostic procedures in our Heart and Vascular Institute procedure rooms, equipped with the latest imaging technology available. Learn more about our Heart and Vascular Institute.
Noninvasive diagnostic procedures we perform include:
- Stress test
- Stress Echocardiogram
- Dobutamine stress test
- Heart monitor
- Tilt Table
- Transesophageal Electrocardiography (TEE)
Sometimes we may decide that you need a more invasive diagnostic procedure called a cardiac catheterization. During this procedure, we thread a thin tube called a catheter to your heart in order to diagnose and even treat certain heart conditions. Learn more about cardiac catheterization.
Echocardiogram (Cardiac Ultrasound)
- The heart's structure
- How the heart is pumping
- The direction of the blood flow
This test records your heart's electrical activity to determine:
- Whether you had a heart attack
- What part of the heart may be damaged
- An irregular heartbeat or rhythm (arrhythmia)
- If there is a decreased supply of blood or oxygen to the heart.
Some arrhythmias only occur while a patient is exercising. During an exercise stress test, you walk or jog on a treadmill while hooked up to an ECG machine. This allows us to determine if you are experiencing any arrhythmias while exercising and also determine if you have evidence of a blocked heart artery.
A stress test uses an echocardiogram ("echo") to evaluate your heart both at rest and under stress (during exercise). It allows us to evaluate how well your heart is functioning. During stress testing:
- We perform an echo while you lie down.
- You exercise for a few minutes on a treadmill
- We take another echo as your heart rate rises.
If you cannot exercise for any reason, we give you a medication that makes your heart beat faster, simulating an exercising heart rate and perform a Dobutamine stress test.
If exercise on a treadmill is not an option (too much stress on the heart) due to your medical condition, we may use an intravenous medication called dobutamine. Dobutamine causes the heart to beat faster and will mimic the effects of exercise on the heart. During Dobutamine stress test:
We perform an echo while you lie down. We give you a dose of Dobutamine. We take another echo as your heart rate rises.
Heart monitoring allows us to evaluate your heart over a period of time. There are two main types of heart monitors:
- Holter monitoring provides continuous, 24-hour monitoring of your heart rhythm. You wear a device that monitors your heart's electrical activities. You also keep a diary of your activities and how your heart feels.
- 30-day event monitoring provides the same information as a Holter monitor, but you wear the device for up to 30 days. This helps us determine the cause of symptoms such as:
- Palpitations (feeling that your heart is racing)
- Syncopal (fainting) episodes
We use this procedure to help rule out cardiac disease in patients with unexplained fainting.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is performed by inserting a probe with a transducer down the esophagus rather than placing the transducer on the chest in a transthoracic echocardiogram. By inserting the transducer in the esophagus, TEE provides a clearer image of the heart because the sound waves do not have to pass through skin, muscle, or bone tissue.