An electrocardiogram records the electrical signals in your heart. It’s a common test used to detect heart problems and monitor the heart’s status in many situations. Electrocardiograms, also called ECGs, are a non-invasive, painless test with quick results.
During an ECG, sensors (electrodes) that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest and sometimes your limbs. These sensors are usually left on for just a few minutes.
Your doctor may discuss your results with you the same day as your electrocardiogram or at your next appointment.
Ambulatory (24 Hour) Blood Pressure Monitor
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) tracks and monitors your blood pressure at regular intervals over 24 hours. There are a number of reasons why your doctor might recommend ABPM:
- Suspected masked or hidden hypertension: ABPM provides a more accurate reading of your blood pressure across 24 hours, instead of a single snapshot at a particular point in the day.
- Suspected of having night-time hypertension: A drop in BP at night compared with during the day, is common with sleep apnoea.
- BP does not lower: despite taking medication prescribed to help lower it.
- Suspected low BP: Dizziness or weakness can be symptoms of low BP.
A blood pressure cuff is placed on your upper arm. The cuff stays on your upper arm for a full 24 hours. It is linked to a recording monitor, small enough to be worn on a belt on your waist. Once the cuff and monitor are comfortably positioned, you will leave the practice and go about your daily activities as normal. The monitor will measure and record your blood pressure and heart rate at regular intervals.
You will return to the practice 24 hours later to have your monitor removed and your doctor will review the measurement to give a diagnosis and design an appropriate treatment plan to manage your blood pressure usually involving a combination of lifestyle measures and medication where appropriate.
A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that records a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 48 hours for the diagnosis of intermittent cardiac symptoms. This may be worn for periods up to a week depending on the frequency of your symptoms.
Wires from electrodes on your chest go to a battery-operated recording device. While you’re wearing the monitor, you’ll be able to go about your normal activities, as long as you keep the electrodes and device dry.
In addition, your doctor will likely ask you to keep a diary of what you’re doing when symptoms occur and the time. Your doctor will compare the diary with the electrical recordings to try to figure out the cause of your symptoms.
An Echocardiogram (ECHO) is a non-invasive, painless procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce images of the heart, which are used to evaluate how well the heart is working.
The images created help your doctor in more accurately diagnosing any issues with the valves or chambers of your heart.
Our ECHOs are performed by a consultant cardiologist and the procedure will usually last 30-60 minutes.
During the procedure, a gel is applied to the chest and an ultrasound probe glides over the gel, creating images of the internal structures of the heart to allow the doctor to evaluate:
- Size of the heart
- Pumping strength of the heart
- Ability of heart to send blood throughout the body
- Heart muscle condition
- Heart valves
- Blood vessels
If your ECHO is normal, no further testing may be required.
If your ECHO is abnormal you may require further investigations or an alteration in medical management and a repeat ECHO to assess for improvement.