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Cardiac Test Information

After seeing your Cardiologist you may be referred for some cardiac tests to further assess and care for your health. We understand that this can be quite daunting if unfamiliar to our patients, so below we have a brief description of each individual test along with where you can make an appointment to have these performed.

ECG or Electrocardiogram

Electrical activity of the heart is measured with dots/leads attached to chest/wrist/ankles which monitors 10 seconds of heart activity.  This is ususally done by the Cardiologist in the consulting room.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram or Echocardiogram

“Echocardiogram” is an ultrasound of the heart where a checks the structure/functioning using sticky dots/gel showing images/rhythm. Takes approximately an hour to complete.

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Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat
  • Diagnostic Services -Ballarat Base Hospital
  • Maryborough Hospital
  • Ararat East Grampians Health
  • Stawell Hospital
  • Horsham Wimmera Health Care Group
  • Hamilton Medical Group

Holter Monitoring

Holter Monitoring records the rhythm/palpitations/black outs of the heart for 24hrs-7days during normal activity. A mobile device Hangs loosely around the neck by a strap/clipped to waistband with electrodes on chest. Patients are asked to record symptoms/feelings while wearing the Holter Monitor before returning to the clinic it was fitted at to have removed. It is not visible through clothing.

Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat
  • Clarendon Medical Centre Maryborough
  • Nightingale Clinic Maryborough
  • Ararat Medical Centre
  • Stawell Hospital
  • Horsham Wimmera Medical Centre
  • Daylesford Springs Medical Centre

24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor

Small recorder around waist/shoulder which checks blood pressure every 15 minutes during the day/20 minutes at night.

Where:

  • Diagnostic Services Ballarat Base Hospital
  • Clarendon Medical Centre Maryborough
  • Nightingale Clinic Maryborough
  • Stawell Medical Centre
  • Horsham Wimmera Medical Centre

CT Coronary Angiogram or CTCA

CT Coronary Angiography is a specialized form of CT scanning used to take images of the coronary arteries of the heart (angiograms). These arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and disease of these vessels (atherosclerosis) is responsible for most heart attacks.

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WHERE:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat
  • Ararat East Grampians Health
  • Stawell Hospital

MIBI Stress Test or Myocardial Perfusion Study

A MIBI Stress Test is a Nuclear Medicine test that lets your doctor know how well your heart muscle is being supplied with blood.

Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat

Chest Xray or CXR

A Chest Xray is a painless, noninvasive test that creates pictures of the structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. “Noninvasive” means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body

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Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Ballarat
  • Maryborough Hospital
  • Ararat East Grampians Health
  • Stawell Hospital
  • Horsham Wimmera Health Care Group

V/Q Scan

A V/Q Scan is a nuclear medicine scan using radioactive material to examine air/blood flow in the lungs to look for blood clots (Pulmonary Embolism)

Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat

Lung Function Tests

Used to measure the function of the lungs to help diagnose lung disease. Spirometry tests use a spirometer device to measure how much the lungs can blow out in a full breath to see how much narrowing is present.

Where:

  • Diagnostic Services Ballarat Base Hospital
  • Horsham Wimmera Medical Centre
  • Ararat Medical Centre

 Gated Blood Pool Scan

Labelling red blood cells with a radiopharmaceutical and then measuring the amount of blood in the heart at different times. Measures the filling and emptying of the heart chambers.

Where:

  • Lake Imaging St John of God Hospital Ballarat

 Cardiac Procedures *to be in own link

Your Cardiologist may require you to have a Cardiac Procedure. Without knowledge on your cardiac procedure we understand that this could be quite daunting. We like our patients to be well informed of what their procedure is about and what it entails so below are descriptions on each of the cardiac procedures and what is involved.

Coronary Angiogram

Coronary Angiogram is a surgical procedure in which a special X-ray is taken of your heart’s arteries (the coronary arteries) is taken to see if they are narrowed or blocked.

 

Procedure Information

+ Pre-Procedure:

  • Your admitting Hospital will call you to go through your pre-admission preperation via the phone.
  • You will need to Fast from Midnight the night before your procedure.
  • Continue to take all of your medications, unless you were informed by your cardiologist during your consultation.

+ Procedure:

  • Coronary Angiogram is a Day Case so you will need to arrange for a family member or carer to bring you and pick you up upon Discharge. (If you are a patient who lives more than 40km away, then you will be admitted for an Overnight Stay)
  • The Angiogram procedure is performed in a special ‘Cath-Lab’ which is similar to a theatre, and for Private patients usually performed at St John of God Hospital Ballarat or Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital for patients who are uninsured.
  • Lying on a narrow table, you will be moved from side to side during testing.
  • You will be connected to a machine that will monitor your heartbeat continuously throughout testing.
  • An intravenous needle may be inserted to the back of your hand to allow medicines to be given during the test.
  • Local anaesthetic is administered through your wrist (sometimes groin area) where the catheter will be inserted into the main artery point.
  • The Catheter moves through the main blood vessel (aorta) to the coronary arteries in the heart, which is watched via x-rays on a monitor. You most likely will not feel anything during this process as there are no nerves inside your arteries.
  • Once the Catheter is in place, contrast dye* is injected and x-ray images are taken as the dye moves through the coronary arteries. (Certain catheters are required to study the different arteries, so will be replaced within the same area)
  • Once your procedure has been finished, the catheter will be removed and you will be transferred to the Recovery area or ward.
  • A standard Angiogram procedure takes about 30-40 minutes. And can most likely be discharged home within 4-6 hours (unless you live 40 minutes away and are staying as an inpatient overnight).

* You may experience nausea, chest discomfort and a warm feeling in your upper chest to whole body upon injection of the contrast dye, but this will pass soon after within 10-15 minutes.

^ The x-ray dye will pass through your kidneys and is excreted in your urine.