Tests & procedures

Click on the links below to find out more about the range of tests and procedures performed at MonashHeart.

12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG)

Performed lying down, a 12-lead ECG involves sticking six electrodes onto your chest and one on each arm and leg. These electrodes are connected to an ECG machine via leads and a recording is then taken of your heart rate and rhythm, which can detect abnormalities in the heart muscle such as a heart attack. This test usually takes less than 10 minutes.

6 minute walk test

The aim of this test is to walk as far as you can in six minutes. Whilst walking or running you will have your heart rate and the level of oxygen in your blood recorded by a probe on your finger. The total distance walked is used to influence your medical treatment.

Ablation

A cardiac ablation procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory, using various types of energy to destroy or ablate small areas of heart tissue where abnormal heart arrhythmias originate from.

   
  Read the information booklet

 

Ambulatory blood pressure monitor

An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a portable blood pressure monitor that automatically records your blood pressure every 30 to 60 minutes over 24 hours during your normal daily activities including sleep.

   
  Read the information booklet

 

Cardiac CT (computed tomography)

A cardiac CT allows doctors to non-invasively, quickly and easily view the structure and function of the heart. It provides a view of thin cross sections of the anatomy of the heart including the coronary arteries, the heart muscle and heart valves. Before having a cardiac CT as an outpatient (day patient) we ask that you complete a cardiac CT health questionnaire and return it to us before your test. Alternatively please bring this health questionnaire with you on the day of your scan.

 

   
  Read the information booklet

 

   
  Complete the cardiac CT health questionnaire

 

 

 

Cardioversion (DCR)

A cardioversion is an outpatient procedure performed to convert an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) to normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm).

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     Read the information booklet

 

Coronary angiography

A coronary angiogram is a minimally invasive x-ray procedure performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory using x-ray dye or contrast injected into the coronary arteries, and can identify narrowed or blocked coronary arteries and abnormalities of the heart muscle and heart valves.

   
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Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Coronary angioplasty

A coronary angioplasty also known as percutaneous coronary intervention, is a minimally invasive procedure performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory to open closed or narrowed coronary arteries supplying the heart muscle, using a balloon procedure and stent implantation to restore blood flow.

   
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Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Coronary calcium score

A coronary calcium score is performed quickly and non-invasively by CT scanning for asymptomatic patients who are at intermediate risk of cardiovascular events. The calcium score enables doctors to recommend risk reduction efforts to be made immediately to lower future risk of developing cardiovascular events such as heart attack.             


   

 

Dobutamine stress echocardiogram

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is the ultrasound imaging of the heart muscle and valves during the administration of a medication called dobutamine which mimics the effects of physical exercise on the heart and is used when patients are unable to exercise strenuously.

   
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Electrophysiology study (EPS)

An electrophysiology study is a procedure performed ‘minimally invasively’ in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory, inserting special electrodes via blood vessels to map the electrical activity of the heart.

   
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Exercise stress echocardiogram

An exercise stress echocardiogram is an ultrasound imaging of the heart before and after a treadmill exercise stress test. It shows how the chambers of the heart and heart valves handle physical work.

   
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Exercise stress test (EST)

In this test, a patient is asked to excercise on a treadmill in order to measure the effect of exercise on the heart. This will help determine if a patient may have heart disease.

   
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Heart valve implantation

Heart valve implantation is a minimally invasive procedure performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory for high risk, elderly patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve), whereby a new aortic valve is implanted in the same location as the diseased valve, avoiding the need for conventional open heart surgery.

Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Hole in the heart closure procedures

Closure procedures avoid the need for open heart surgery and are performed minimally invasively in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory to close a hole in the heart using a special closure device which stops abnormal blood flow between heart chambers. Common closure procedures include those for an atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is often ordered to investigate a racing heart rate (palpitations) or unexplained dizziness. It is a portable electrocardiogram ECG monitor that records your heart rhythm continuously for up to 24 hours during your normal daily activities including sleep.

   
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Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small electronic device that is inserted under the skin in the upper chest/shoulder area with special wires passed through a vein into the heart chambers. It senses dangerously abnormal heart rhythms and delivers pacing or a small shock to restore normal heart rhythm when required.

   
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Left atrial appendage occluder device (WATCHMAN™)

A left atrial appendage occluder device is a new technology, considered for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at risk of stroke who are not suited to conventional stroke prevention, namely anticoagulation (blood thinning). In AF the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly which can lead to blood clots forming. These blood clots can dislodge into the circulation and travel to the brain causing a stroke. These clots most often form in the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart.  Patients with AF at risk of stroke are frequently treated with blood thinning medication such as warfarin or dabigatran to reduce stroke risk. A LAA occluder device is designed to permanently close the LAA and may be considered as an alternative method of stroke prevention in patients with AF who are unsuitable for standard blood thinning medications.

     Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Loop monitor

A loop monitor is a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that monitors the patient's heart rhythm continuously over a one to two week period during normal daily activities including exercise and sleep to record a ‘snapshot’ of heart rhythm when symptoms appear.

   
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Pacemaker (PPM)

A pacemaker (PPM) is a small electronic device that is inserted under the skin in the upper chest/shoulder area with connecting wires passed through a vein to the heart. The pacemaker senses if the heart rhythm is abnormally slow allowing stimulation of heart activity when required.

   
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Paediatric echocardiogram

A paediatric echocardiogram provides ultrasound images of the heart. This allows us to see the structure of the heart and major blood vessels around the heart to show whether there are any holes or other defects of the heart, and to determine if the heart is pumping normally.

   
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Paediatric exercise stress test

A paediatric exercise stress test is designed to make the heart work hard during strenuous exercise. It may be used to investigate chest pain, possible heart rhythm abnormalities or simply to assess how well a child can exercise in comparison with other children.

   
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Percutaneous transluminal septal myocardial ablation (PTSMA)

Percutaneous transluminal septal myocardial ablation or PTSMA is a minimally invasive procedure performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory to reduce the overgrowth of heart muscle associated with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. PTSMA involves an injection of alcohol into the septal branch of the left anterior descending artery resulting in a intentional and controlled “infarction” of the area with thinning and scarring of the heart muscle and resultant reduction in pressure and improved patient symptoms.

Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Rapid Assessment Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC)

The Rapid Assessment Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC) is a fast route entry system for patients with chest pain to see a specialist cardiologist within one week of referral, speeding up assessment, diagnosis, treatment, risk factor modification and any further recommended medical follow-up.

   
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Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour

Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE)

A transoesophageal echocardiogram or TOE is semi-invasive ultrasound imaging of the heart under light sedation via a transducer placed in the oesophagus which enables closer and much clearer views of the heart muscle, heart valves and the sac around the heart.

   
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Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)

A transthoracic echocardiogram or TTE is an ultrasound imaging scan of the heart using high frequency sound waves to see all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves and the sac around the heart, with the echocardiogram transducer being manipulated over the chest wall.

   
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Valvuloplasty procedures

A balloon valvuloplasty procedure is performed minimally invasively in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory to open narrowed or stenosed heart valves including the aortic valve (aortic valvuloplasty) and the mitral valve (mitral valvuloplasty).

Cardiac Cath Lab virtual tour