Various non-invasive tests can be used to diagnose heart disease and conditions such as angina (chest pain).
Cardiac MRI, a relatively new imaging system, can be used to evaluate coronary artery disease, heart failure and congenital heart disease.
UCSD Medical Center is one of a few facilities in San Diego County to have this state-of-the art system, which is the most powerful technology currently available for getting a detailed view of the heart.
This non-invasive test translates sound waves from your chest into pictures of your heart. It provides information about how the heart is pumping, how blood flows in the heart and blood vessels, how large the heart is and how the valves are working.
The electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) records the heart's electrical activity. Small patches called electrodes are placed on your chest, arms and legs, and are connected by wires to the ECG machine.
Stress tests are performed to see how the heart performs under physical stress. The heart can be stressed with exercise on a treadmill or in a few instances, a bicycle.
Stress Thallium Test
Stress thallium tests have two components -- a treadmill stress test and heart scan after injection of a radionuclide material, such as thallium, which allows doctors to see the coronary arteries and the shape and function of the heart. It has been used in this manner safely for many years to demonstrate the amount of blood the heart is getting under various conditions -- rest and stress.
Cardiac MRI uses a powerful, high-strength magnet to help diagnose heart problems and guide treatment. With this advanced technology, physicians can now obtain amazingly detailed three-dimensional images of the heart never seen before. With the images produced by cardiac MRI, physicians can see how well the heart muscle is contracting as well as any areas of damaged tissue. This radiation-free technique is especially useful for evaluating such conditions as coronary artery disease, heart failure and congenital heart disease.