Heart Imaging & Testing
Heart imaging and tests tell a specific story about your heart and help us make an accurate diagnosis. Some tests let us see how blood flows to and from your heart. Others look at your heart's electrical activity. At UnityPoint Health – Peoria, our highly skilled team uses these tests to accurately diagnose and monitor heart disease.
We offer many tests in our clinic so you don't need to schedule an extra trip to have a test. The testing we offer in our clinics includes echocardiograms, nuclear stress tests and cardiac MRI.
An electrocardiogram is a simple test that measures your heartbeat and heart rhythm. It is often the first test we use to diagnose a heart condition. We can perform an ECG, also known as an EKG, in our office or at the hospital. We may recommend an ECG if you have certain symptoms, including chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.
Heart imaging gives us a picture of your heart and blood vessels so we can make a correct diagnosis. Heart imaging tests we use include:
An echocardiogram, or echo test, uses sound waves to capture images of your heart. Our accredited echocardiography lab uses this test to examine how your heart functions in real time. We use echo to diagnose heart attack and several other heart conditions. We may also perform an echocardiogram along with an exercise stress test to check how your heart changes as it works harder.
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
Transesophageal echocardiography is a type of echocardiogram. We insert a thin tube through your mouth and into your esophagus. The tube contains a transducer, which uses sound waves to create highly detailed pictures of the heart valves and chambers. TEE can help us diagnose problems with the heart or blood vessels.
Cardiac MRI and MRA
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnet and radio waves to create 3D images of your heart. An MRI lets us check for damage to the heart or lack of blood flow. We can also see how blood flows through the heart and blood vessels. Cardiac magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) uses the same technology to provide a detailed look at the blood vessels around the heart and in other areas of the body.
Cardiac MRI and MRA help us diagnose coronary artery disease and heart valve disease. They also help us evaluate damage from a heart attack.
Cardiac PET scan and cardiac CT
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a special radioactive dye to look at blood flow and check for heart damage. We typically use PET to diagnose coronary artery disease.
During a cardiac CT scan, we inject a special dye into your bloodstream. The dye shows up on scans and lets us see your heart and blood vessels. A cardiac CT lets us see blood clots or blockages in the heart, as well as heart valve problems.
Heart Rhythm Monitoring
We perform a variety of tests to look for heart rhythm disorders, or arrhythmias. These tests help us determine what types of treatments might work best.
Holter monitor and event monitors
Our team can fit you with a short-term Holter monitor for one or two days. We may also suggest a longer-term event monitor that records your heart rhythm for up to one month. These monitors give us valuable information about your heart's electrical activity and help us recommend treatments.
We perform minimally invasive electrophysiology (EP) studies in a special lab. Our electrophysiologist (heart rhythm expert) inserts thin, flexible tubes called catheters into a blood vessel in your groin. These catheters contain tiny electrodes. We guide the catheters to your heart, where the electrodes measure the electrical activity.
We use 3D imaging called cardiac mapping to record electrical signals during an EP study. 3D mapping gives us a sophisticated real-time picture of your heart and lets us pinpoint the origin of arrhythmias. EP studies are especially useful when diagnosing a fast heart rhythm (tachycardia) or slow rhythm (bradycardia).
During cardiac catheterization, we insert catheters into a blood vessel in the groin or arm. We use X-rays to help guide the catheters to the heart.
Using the catheter, doctors can check the pressure inside the heart. They may inject dye into the coronary arteries to check blood flow to and from the heart. We use cardiac catheterization to study the structure and function of heart chambers and valves and major arteries and veins.
A coronary angiogram is a type of cardiac catheterization. This X-ray test lets us look for blocked or narrowed blood vessels. During the procedure, we inject a special dye that shows up on X-rays. Coronary angiograms help us determine if you need a stent, bypass surgery or other treatment.
Other Heart Tests
We perform many other heart tests, including:
- Stress test: During this test, you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. The results reveal how your heart performs during physical activity.
- Medical stress test: If you cannot complete an exercise stress test, your doctor may recommend a medical stress test. This test uses medication to mimic the effects of exercise.
- Tilt table test: If you have issues with feeling faint or passing out, we may perform a tilt table test. You lie flat on a table that tilts your feet up. We measure your blood pressure and heart rate and rhythm as your body's position changes.
- Doppler studies: These tests use ultrasound waves to examine blood flow in the arteries and look for blockages. We place a probe on the outside of your body. The waves from the probe bounce off your blood vessels and heart and create pictures.
- Myocardial (heart) biopsy: During this test, we safely remove a tiny portion of heart muscle using a catheter inserted through the neck. A biopsy helps us diagnose problems with heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). The test also lets us monitor people after heart transplant.
Find a heart specialist. Or, for more information, connect with a member of our heart team by calling us at 309-672-4670.