Cardiac Imaging & Testing
At Le Bonheur, your child may have images taken of his or her heart, or undergo testing in order to provide a diagnosis and plan for treatment. Common testing includes:
Exercise or Stress Test: This test determines if exercise causes problems with your child’s heart. Your child will exercise, and the heart will be monitored for changes.
Syncope/Tilt Table Test: This test is ordered to help determine the cause of fainting. During the test, your child will lie on a table that moves from a horizontal to a vertical position. Your child’s heart will be monitored for changes.
Cardiac MRI: Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates both still and moving pictures of your child’s heart and major blood vessels. MRI images of a beating heart help our heart team analyze your child’s heart structure and how it functions. Using these images our cardiothoracic surgeons can better plan for your child’s heart surgery for the best outcome possible.
An echo is an ultrasound that views the structure, size, and blood flow through the heart. Types include:
- Transthoracic echocardiography, a common outpatient procedure where specialists’ place gel on the chest and then glide a transducer (camera) on the chest to capture images of the heart.
- Transesophageal echocardiography, a cath lab procedure where specialists place a camera down your child’s throat to get a view of the heart. Intracardiac echocardiography, a cath lab procedure where your child is sedated by anesthesiologists and the cardiologist places a very small catheter (camera) directly into the heart. It shows images of the heart while cardiologists are working within the heart. Fetal echocardiography, an ultrasound image of the heart of an unborn child. Typically, your obstetrician will make a referral if he or she has questions or suspicions that your baby has an abnormal heart. The Fetal Center at Le Bonheur offers fetal echos as early as the first trimester.
Le Bonheur employs two of the three registered fetal echocardiographers in the region. Our lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).
Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG) gives a tracing of the electrical conduction of the heart. Types include:
- Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG) displays how the heart beats. Technicians place electrodes (stickers) across the chest and on each arm and leg to measure the beats of the heart. The test takes approximately 10 minutes.
- Holter monitor records 24 or 48 hours of continuous heart beats to look for any irregularities. Children are able to take the holter home.
- Event recorder is a long-term monitoring device, similar to a holter. The device works by activating the monitor to record the heart beat when certain events are felt.
Angiogram: Our cardiologists perform angiograms in the cath lab to see the arteries surrounding the heart. They inject dyes into the arteries and take X-rays of the images to diagnose heart defects or better plan for procedures.
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