CARDIOLOGY

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Pulmonary function tests

What are pulmonary function tests (PFTs)?


Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a group of tests that measure how well your lungs work. This includes how well you’re able to breathe and how effective your lungs are able to bring oxygen to the rest of your body. Your doctor may order these tests: if you’re having symptoms of lung problems, as part of a routine physical examination, to monitor how effective your treatment is if you have a lung disease, such as asthma or to assess how well your lungs are working before you have surgery. PFTs are also known as spirometry or lung function tests.

Exercise Stress Test

What Is an Exercise Stress Test?


An exercise stress test is used to determine how well your heart responds during times when it is working the hardest. During the test, you will be asked to exercise — typically on a treadmill — while you are hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. This allows your doctor to monitor your heart rate. The exercise stress test is also referred to as an exercise test or treadmill test.

ECG

Why it's done


An electrocardiogram is a painless, noninvasive way to help diagnose many common heart problems in people of all ages. Your doctor may use an electrocardiogram to detect: Irregularities in your heart rhythm (arrhythmias), If blocked or narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) are causing chest pain or a heart attack, if there is structural problems with your heart's chambers or if there is a previous heart attack.

Echocardiogram

Why it's done


Your doctor may suggest an echocardiogram if he or she suspects problems with the valves or chambers of your heart or if heart problems are the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain. An echocardiogram can also be used to detect congenital heart defects in unborn babies (fetal echocardiogram).

HOLTER MONITOR

Why it's done


However, sometimes an electrocardiogram doesn't detect any irregularities in your heart rhythm because you're hooked up to the machine for only a short time. If your signs and symptoms suggest that an occasionally irregular heart rhythm may be causing your condition, your doctor may recommend that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or so. Over that time, the Holter monitor may be able to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm that an electrocardiogram couldn't detect.