Procedures and Patient Preparation

Procedure Duration Requirements

Electrocardiogram (12 lead ECG)

An electrocardiogram is a simple procedure that involves the application of electrodes (adhesive "dots") to your chest and measures the electrical activity generated by the heart as it contracts.

10-15 minutes

No specific preparation required.

Exercise Stress Test

This procedure involves the application of electrodes similar to a standard 12-lead ECG, with the added component of exercising on a treadmill. This test is used as a screening tool for many heart conditions, in particular coronary artery disease. The test requires you to walk on a treadmill for 6-10 minutes whilst being monitored by ECG and intermittent blood pressure recordings.

30 minutes

Wear loose comfortable clothes (preferably top and bottom rather than a dress) and shoes appropriate for exercise. Fast for 3 hours prior - no food or drink unless otherwise advised. (Diabetics 2 hours).

Holter Monitor (24 hour monitor)

This procedure involves the application of three ECG electrodes on your chest, connected to a small monitor which will monitor and capture every single heart beat for 24 hours. A patient diary is issued for you to document daily activities and a button can be pressed on the monitor to record any symptoms you may have.

2 appointments; fitting time - 30 minutes. Removal – 10 minutes. Monitor is worn for 24 hours in total.

The monitor cannot get wet. No showering or bathing whilst the monitor is connected – we advise showering before your fitting appointment. No other specific preparation required.

Event Monitor (7 day monitor)

This procedure involves the application of three ECG electrodes on your chest, connected to a small monitor which will monitor and capture every single heart beat for 7 days. A patient diary is issued for you to document daily activities and a button can be pressed on the monitor to record any symptoms you may have.

2 appointments; fitting time - 30 minutes. Removal – 10 minutes. Monitor is worn for 7 days in total.

The monitor cannot get wet. The monitor can be removed for showering/bathing and re-fitted (additional electrodes and skin preparation material provided).

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor (ABPM)

This procedure involves the fitting of a blood pressure cuff to your non-dominant arm, which is connected to a small monitor. The monitor inflates automatically at scheduled intervals to accurately measure your blood pressure over a 24 hour period. A patient diary is issued to document your daily activities.

2 appointments; fitting time - 30 minutes. Removal – 10 minutes. Monitor is worn for 24 hours in total.

The monitor cannot get wet. No showering or bathing whilst the monitor is connected – we advise showering before your fitting appointment. Wear a loose, comfortable top for easy monitor fitting and comfort.

Echocardiogram (2D/Doppler Echo)

This procedure is an ultrasound of your heart; images are taken using sound waves to view the structure and function of your heart.

45-60 minutes

There are no special preparation requirements for an Echocardiogram (Echo).

Treadmill Stress Echocardiogram

This procedure combines an exercise stress test and an echo to further enhance the diagnostic accuracy of evaluating the effects of physical activity on your heart. Ultrasound images are taken prior and post exercise on a treadmill to view heart function. Your ECG and blood pressure will be monitored throughout the test.

45 minutes

Wear loose comfortable clothes (preferably top and bottom rather than a dress) and shoes appropriate for exercise. Fast for 3 hours prior - no food or drink unless otherwise advised. (Diabetics 2 hours).

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

If you are unable to walk on a treadmill to the required levels, this procedure uses a medication to mimic the effect of exercise on your heart. The medication is similar to adrenaline and will be infused via a cannula in the back of your hand/arm (requiring a needle). The medication is very short acting and the side effects are rare and quite mild. Your ECG and blood pressure will be monitored throughout the test.

60 minutes

Fast for 3 hours prior (diabetics 2 hours) – no food or drink unless otherwise advised. It is advised that you have someone drive you home after the test; if not possible, you may be required to wait for further observation after the test.

Transoesophageal Echocardiogram

This procedure involves being admitted into hospital (very commonly a simple day procedure). It involves a probe being passed down your oesophagus (food pipe) to take high quality images of your heart. By doing so, we are able to obtain much higher quality images then we normally would via normal echo. Light sedation is given to ensure you are comfortable and a local anaesthetic is given to aid in passing of the probe.

3-4 hours (including recovery)

You are required to fast for at least 6 hours; no food or water unless otherwise advised. We strongly advise that you do not drive home following the procedure, so please arrange alternate transport.