ECG, ECHO, TMT, Holter
Cardiovascular health of an individual is assessed with sophisticated devices which precisely inform the treating cardiologist about the patients’ overall health.
Electrocardiography is the test that measures the electrical activity in the heart. Heart conducts its own electrical impulse for every beat. This muscular organ beats in rhythm to pump the blood to different parts of the body with this auto-generated electrical signal. Sino-atrial node is the electricity generator or the pacemaker of the heart. Impulse initiated at the sino-atrial node, travels to the entire heart at specified intervals, distributing the impulses evenly. Recording of these impulses is known as Electrocardiogram or ECG. Application of 10 leads to the body, ECG is recorded for electrical signals throughout the heart. Any deviation from the normal is detected by the physician and appropriate management is initiated.
Echocardiography is a colored ultrasound of the heart. A sophisticated device that gives a bird’s eye view at the heart’s outer and inner aspects when it is functioning. This test provides information of the size of the heart, heart chambers, optimum functioning of these chambers, muscular thickness of the heart walls, valve condition of the heart, blood flow adequacy to the heart, pumping ability of the heart, detection of clots in the vessels of the heart, any fluid build-up surrounding the heart and problems associated with the aorta. Echocardiography is an indispensable asset to the cardiologist as it gives all the necessary information to make a diagnosis regarding the disorders of the heart.
Some of the disorders of the heart are undetected when the patient is engaged in normal daily activities. When the demand is high, in case of exercise or stress, the disease of the heart surfaces and creates problem for optimum functioning of the human. ECG can be normal in an individual who is resting, but to test the capability of the heart when body demands are high, as in exercise, tread-mill testing is beneficial. Patient is connected with all the ECG leads and is asked to run on a treadmill, whose speed is controlled by the physician and optimally varied according to the patient’s stamina. During the exercise electrical signals from the heart is recorded and analysed for any abnormality or under functioning of the heart. It is a very useful tool in diagnosing myocardial ischemia on provocation and evaluation of coronary artery diseases.
Stress echo works on a similar principle as TMT where ECG is replaced with echocardiography. Patient is monitored for changes and abnormalities when the patient is under stress.
Some patients show normal ECG when assessed but clinically are showing definitive signs of cardiovascular disease. For this purpose, a 24-hour ECG monitoring is necessary to evaluate the patient’s cardiac status. Holter ECG is a device connected to the patient 24 hours to estimate the electrical activity of the heart throughout the day as he carries out his daily activities including sleeping at nights. These are highly useful for cardiologists to make accurate diagnoses.