Diagnosing heart disease can be complicated. Our cardiodiagnostics team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital uses state-of-the-art equipment and thorough testing to make sure our patients get the right diagnosis and the best treatment possible.
The cardiodiagnostics department – also referred to as the "Echo Lab," a nod to the echocardiography procedure conducted here – is a non-invasive, ultrasound diagnostic center. Once a cardiologist makes the diagnosis of acquired heart disease for a patient, our department plays an in-depth role in developing a treatment plan tailored to each patient.
Diagnosing heart disease in children
The pediatric medical team at Phoenix Children's Heart Center uses the latest equipment to offer the area’s most accurate and effective cardiac diagnostic services. We image the heart with 2D and 3D technology and perform hemodynamic flow studies. Additional diagnostic tests and evaluations that we perform include:
- Physical exam: This may include a head-to-toe assessment to help detect possible heart disease or determine how well a child is coping with existing heart problems.
- Blood tests: These tests help a doctor evaluate a patient’s illness or monitor health after surgery. Types of blood tests include blood count, electrolytes, total protein and albumin, an evaluation of the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs, blood gas and genetic blood tests.
- Echocardiography: This procedure assesses the heart's structures and function. This test is also called echo, cardiac ultrasound, cardiac ultrasonography or cardiac Doppler.
- Holter monitoring: A prolonged type of ECG tracing, called a Holter monitor, can capture any abnormal heartbeats or rhythms that may be causing a patient’s symptoms, especially if they occur frequently. The Holter monitor test records ECG tracing continuously for 24 or more hours.
- Exercise (EKG/ECG) testing: An ECG (or EKG) provides one of the easiest and quickest ways to evaluate the heart. Electrodes (small, plastic patches) are placed at certain locations on a patient’s chest, arms and legs. Once the electrodes are connected to the ECG machine by lead wires, the electrical activity of the heart can be measured, interpreted and printed out for a physician’s evaluation. When an ECG is monitored while a patient exercises on a treadmill or stationary bike, it can assess the heart’s response to stress or exercise.
- Tilt table evaluation: The tilt table procedure can identify what is causing the onset of syncope (fainting or temporary loss of consciousness) by making changes in the patient’s posture from lying to standing.
- Fetal stress testing: During a woman’s late pregnancy or labor, a physician or midwife may recommend monitoring the rate and rhythm of the fetal heartbeat to evaluate the fetus’ wellbeing.
In addition, we offer pacemaker and defibrillator evaluation and follow-up.