The first visit to the Dorothy and Larry Dallas Heart Center can be somewhat lengthy, at times lasting several hours. During this visit, one of our cardiologists will take full cardiac history and examination of your child. The cardiologist may order some tests to help with assessment of your child. The majority of these tests are done during the first visit. Your child's cardiologist will review the tests and discuss the diagnosis or findings with you during the same visit.
Please be sure to have your child’s primary pediatrician or doctor’s name, phone number and address so they may receive the results of your child’s visit and testing.
The following testing may be performed:
An (EKG) is a simple diagnostic test that records the electrical activity of your child’s heart. All new patients have one as part of the screening process. The electric current is produced by the contraction of the heart muscle and is recorded onto paper for the physician to review. This test generally lasts less than one minute and is painless. It involves electrodes being placed on your child’s chest, arms, and legs. Your child needs to be still or not moving for about 10 seconds while it is recording.
An echocardiogram (echo) is an ultrasound of the heart. An echo uses ultrasound waves to create a picture of the heart and the pattern of blood flowing through it. Gel is placed on your child’s chest, and a special probe is used to create sound waves that produce a moving image of the beating heart on the screen. From this, a physician can determine the thickness, size, and function of the heart, as well as the structures of the heart. The echo is a safe and painless test.
A 24-hour holter monitor is a continuous recording of your child’s heart beat outside the hospital during normal routine and activity. This test usually lasts for 24 hours. This test is similar to an electrocardiogram except that it is used to record the ECG over a longer period of time. The physician may order the test for recurring symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, fainting spells, dizziness, or a variety of other symptoms.
An event recorder is a monitor that is kept for 30 days to record symptoms at home or school. This monitor will be mailed to you at home and instructions reviewed with you over the phone after receiving the monitor.
Oximetry is a way of determining the oxygen saturation of the blood. This is done by using a clip or band-aid type device on the patient's fingers or toes that obtains the necessary measurement for the physician without pain.
Treadmill (Stress) Test
A stress test is a continuous recording of your child’s heart rhythm and blood pressure while they exercise on a treadmill. This test is used to evaluate whether or not the blood supply to the heart is enough to meet the body's need when its workload is increased. It helps the physician determine how well your child’s heart functions during exertion.
This test is usually done on a different day than your office visit and may take up to 30 to 45 minutes. Your child should dress comfortably in shorts or sweats, while wearing good walking/running shoes. A guardian must accompany all the children under 18 years of age.
In addition, a chest x-ray or blood work may be done. Other tests may also be ordered by your child’s cardiologist.
** If your child has had any previous testing, please be sure to let the secretary, technician or nurses know.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make you or your child more comfortable during this visit.
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