diagnostic testing for heart conditions
Dayton Children’s offers state-of-the-art diagnostic testing for children, adolescents and adults with heart disease. Most of these tests can be performed in the clinic during regular clinic visits. This convenient option allows our care team to receive test results quickly. It also means fewer trips back and forth from the clinic for patients and families.
Some of our tests require children to be very still. If this is difficult for your child, a member of our anesthesiology team will talk to you about providing sedation during these tests.
Dayton Children’s offers the following cardiology tests.
ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
These monitors track a patient’s blood pressure over the course of 24 hours. Readings can help confirm high blood pressure readings taken in the clinic.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a painless imaging test that uses radio waves, magnets and computer software to create detailed pictures of the heart. This test is only available at the hospital’s main campus.
A chest X-ray creates pictures of the structures in and around the chest, including the heart. It can be used to diagnose and monitor cardiac conditions.
Echocardiography uses high-frequency (ultrasound) waves to create pictures of the heart. It allows the doctor to see the heart’s structures and how the heart is functioning. We offer the following echocardiography tests:
- Transthoracic echocardiography — This test involves placing an ultrasound probe on outside of a person’s chest to obtain images of the heart.
- Fetal echocardiography — This test is performed on an unborn baby if results from a routine ultrasound or other prenatal test indicate possible heart problems. It is similar to a prenatal ultrasound, but uses special equipment to obtain images of the fetus’ heart.
- Exercise stress testing — This test involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while the doctor monitors the patient’s blood pressure and heart rhythm. While the patient’s heart rate reaches peak levels, the doctor identifies the patient’s peak oxygen consumption and sometimes even takes ultrasound images. Results can show whether the heart is getting enough blood and oxygen during exercise.
- Transesophogeal echocardiography (TEE) — This test involves obtaining ultrasound images of the heart from inside the patient’s esophagus (“food pipe”). A TEE can obtain very clear images of the upper chambers of the heart, since those structures are located very close to the esophagus. It involves placing an ultrasound probe on the end of a thin, flexible tube, and passing that tube down the throat into the esophagus. This is usually done in the hospital as an outpatient procedure with the help of our anesthesiology colleagues.
Electrocardiography (also called EKG or ECG) is a test used to record electrical activity in the heart. It involves placing electrodes on the skin of the limbs and chest and also helps the cardiologist determine the size of the heart.
genetic testing and counseling
Genetic testing can help determine whether the child’s cardiac condition or defect is associated with inherited genetic factors. Test results can help physicians create a personalized treatment plan and help families be aware of the potential for other relatives to have a similar condition or defect.
portable electrocardiography (ECG) monitoring
Portable (or ambulatory) ECG monitors help the doctor learn more about heart rhythm problems. We offer three different kinds of ECG monitors: Holter, event monitor and Zio patch.
types of portable ECG monitors
- Monitor Type: Holter
- Purpose: This device assesses heart rhythm abnormalities over a 24-48 hour period.
- How to Document Data: Patients record their daily activities and any symptoms in a log book/diary. When experiencing symptoms, such as dizziness or chest pain, the patient presses the blue button on top of the monitor to mark the event.
- Special Instructions: Patients should maintain normal activities, but not shower or bathe while wearing.
- Monitor Type: Zio patch
- Purpose: This disposable, wireless patch assesses heart rhythm abnormalities. Patients may wear it for up to 14 days.
- How to Document Data: While wearing the patch, patients document their symptoms in an event log/diary.
- Special Instructions: Patients may shower while wearing the patch, but should be careful not to submerge it in water. Keep soaps and lotions away from the monitor.
- Monitor Type: Event monitor
- Purpose: This device assesses heart rhythm abnormalities . Patients may wear if for 30 days.
- How to Document Data: Patients who have arrhythmias may be asked to wear this device. When a patient experiences a symptom of arrhythmia, he or she presses a button to record their heart rhytm. Patients transmit data by phone to the Dayton Children’s pediatric cardiology team for analysis.
- Special Instructions: Requires a land line to transmit data by phone.
myocardial perfusion imaging
Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is a non-invasive imaging test that shows how well blood flows through your heart muscle. Patients who undergo an MPI receive an injection of radioactive dye, then have an exercise stress test. This test is sometimes called a nuclear stress test.
tilt table testing
This test helps doctors find the cause of fainting spells. Your child will lie on a bed, which can be tilted to different angles. Machines monitor blood pressure, electrical impulses in the heart, and oxygen level.
if your child needs a cardiac catheterization
Cardiac catheterization can help doctors perform therapeutic procedures on the heart and its blood vessels in order to treat some heart conditions, including heart rhythm abnormalities. Dayton Children’s does not offer cardiac catheterization, but if your child needs one, our specialists will recommend a skilled specialist and provide a referral.