Also known as an EKG, an electrocardiogram is a simple diagnostic test that records the electrical activity of your child’s heart. All new patients at the Dallas Heart Center receive an EKG as part of the screening process. The electrical current produced by the contraction of the heart muscle is recorded on paper for the cardiologist to review. In an EKG, electrodes wil be placed on your child’s chest, arm and legs. Your child will need to be still for about 10 seconds while the EKG is recording. The test itself generally lasts less than one minute and is painless.
Also known as an echo, an echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. At the Dallas Heart Center, our physicians have access to a 3-D cardiac ultrasound machine that allows physicians to see the heart in real time. This common test uses ultrasound waves to create a picture of your child’s heart and the pattern of blood flowing through it. During the test, gel is placed on your child’s chest and a special wand is used to create sound waves that produce a moving image of the beating heart on the screen. The pediatric cardiologist can use this image to determine the thickness, size and function of the heart as well as the structures of the heart. An echo is a safe and painless test.
Cardiac MRI is a painless and non-invasive test that uses imaging technology commonly known as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to take detailed photos of your child’s heart to examine the structure and function of it and the blood vessels. This technology enables physicians to create three-dimensional (or 3-D) images of the heart and measure how well the heart is pumping blood.
For the convenience of our patients, the Imaging Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon is located right next to the Dallas Heart Center.
Your child’s cardiologist may recommend that your child wear a Holter Monitor, a painless portable device that will create a 24-hour continuous recording of your child’s heartbeat. The monitor is attached to electrodes on the chest and typically worn around the neck or belt. The test is similar to an EKG but records the heartbeat over a longer period of time. This test may be ordered 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 at school. This monitor will be sent to you at home. Istructions will be reviewed with you over the phone after you receive the monitor.
Pulse oximetry is a test used to determine the oxygen saturation of the blood. Pulse oximetry is a simple and painless test performed by putting a clip-type advice on the patient’s finger or toe. This test is performed on newborn babies still in the hospital to detect congenital heart defects very early, but is also used on older children.
Stress (Treadmill) Test
A stress test is a continuous recording of your child’s heart rhythm and blood pressure during exercise on a treadmill. The test is used to evaluate whether the blood supply to the heart is enough to meet the body’s need when its workload is increased, during exercise and other strenuous activity.
A stress test lasts 30 to 45 minutes and is typically done on a separate day from your office visit. Your child should dress comfortably in shorts or sweats and good walking or running shoes. Parents must accompany all children under 18 years old. Our treadmill testing area is comfortable and easily accommodates mom or dad.