Below are basic explanations of the diagnostic tests and clinical procedures we use. For further information please feel free to contact us.

Resting Transthoracic Echocardiography

This is a painless ultrasound investigation of the heart. Detailed pictures are gained of all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves and the main vessels taking blood to and from the heart. This test is very helpful in assessing patients with chest pain, heart murmurs, palpitations and breathlessness. It is also useful to assess for any secondary damage to the heart muscle from hypertension. Echocardiography is also recommended in certain patients with a family history of heart problems. An echocardiogram takes up to 30 minutes to perform and is performed either by Dr Hickman or one of his technical team.

Echocardiography Dyssynchrony Assessment

In patients with reduced left ventricular function it can be important to undertake more prolonged echocardiography studies to assess for changes in the relative timing of heart muscle contractions in multiple different regions of the heart. These assessments can be an important determinant of whether an individual will benefit from implantation of a Biventricular Pacemaker to improve heart function. These assessments take up to 45 minutes and are performed either by Dr Hickman or one of his technical team.

Transoesophageal Echocardiography

This is a highly detailed ultrasound examination performed using an endoscopic ultrasound probe that is passed into the oesophagus. It is most often required to assess structures at the back of the heart (the atria) and the heart valves. This procedure is performed by Dr Hickman and is usually performed either with sedation or under anaesthetic.

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography

Dobutamine stress echocardiography is an investigation used to assess in detail the heart function at rest and during stress. Dobutamine is a synthetic drug that is given very gradually through an intravenous cannula to gradually increase the heart rate as if one were exercising. An echocardiogram is performed at rest and then repeated over the course of 10-15 minutes as the heart rate increases. The test is a highly sensitive method for determining whether there is any significant coronary artery disease and also for assessing the potential for recovery in areas of damaged heart muscle. It can also be helpful in assessing heart valve disease. These procedures are performed by Dr Hickman and take between 60-90 minutes.

Cardiology Tests and Procedures