Cardiac Diagnostic Procedures

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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:

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET)

This test determines if exercise causes problems with your child’s heart, including its function and rhythm at rest and with activity. It also monitors lung function. Your child will exercise, and the heart will be monitored for changes.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR)

cMRICardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) creates both still and moving pictures of your child’s heart and major blood vessels. CMR images of a beating heart allows our heart team to analyze your child’s heart structure and how it functions. Inflammation, scar formation and heart swelling can also be identified in CMR. Using these images our cardiothoracic surgeons can better plan for your child’s heart surgery for the best outcome possible.

3D MRI

Echocardiography (echo)

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. This is an outpatient or inpatient procedure.
  • 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 Cardiology Center at Le Bonheur offers fetal echos as early as the first trimester.

echo carter

Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG)

This test 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 structure and function of the heart and arteries surrounding the heart. They inject dyes into the arteries and take X-rays of the images to diagnose heart defects or the best plan for therapeutic procedures.

For more information, contact us at cardiac@lebonheur.org or 1-866-870-5570.

Meet Our Cardiac Diagnostic Procedures Team

Electrophysiology

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Dr. Guerrier is director of cardiac rhythm device management at Le Bonheur and is an interventional electrophysiologist with advanced training. She completed her training in pediatric cardiology and pediatric electrophysiology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Guerrier is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty. She is an assistant professor with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

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Dr. Wetzel is director of Le Bonheur's Electrophysiology Program and is a professor of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty and specializes in electrophysiology, cardiac arrhythmias, radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. Dr. Wetzel completed his training in pediatric cardiology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Cardiac MRI

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Dr. Johnson is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty. He is an assistant professor with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. His areas of focus include non-invasive imaging including advanced echo, fetal cardiology and cardiac MRI.

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Dr. Merlocco is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty. He is an instructor with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Fetal Cardiac Imaging

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Dr. Joshi is medical director of Noninvasive Cardiology, and is associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty and specializes in fetal cardiology and imaging, echocardiography and sports related cardiology.

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Dr. Naik is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty, is the director of the fetal cardiology program and is an Associate Professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He specializes in non-invasive imaging including cardiac MRI, fetal echocardiography, advanced echocardiography and stress echocardiography.

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Dr. Swaminathan is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with a cardiology subspecialty. She is an assistant professor with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.