Cardiovascular Diagnostic Imaging & Tests

Before prescribing a test to diagnose heart disease, your doctor needs more information. Start with a physical exam. Your doctor will want to listen to your heart, check your blood pressure and determine your heart rate, then review your personal and medical history.

Here are some of the tests your doctor might recommend:

Blood Test

Abnormal levels of potassium, thyroid hormone or other substances in the blood can indicate a heightened risk of an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Stress Tests

Exercise: A baseline test, on a treadmill, that makes your heart work increasingly harder. When the body demands more oxygen, requiring the heart to pump more blood, you doctor will see if the arteries that supply the heart get enough blood. Your heart’s activity is measured with an electrocardiogram. If abnormalities are found, a stress echocardiogram test might be ordered if your doctor suspects coronary artery disease. A stress echo, as it's called, uses ultrasound to get detailed information about the heart's four chambers.

Pharmacological: Medication dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow, replicating the effects of exercise in patients unable to use a treadmill. 

Cardiopulmonary (CPET): A measurement, via electrocardiogram, of oxygen use and carbon dioxide production as you ride a stationary bicycle. It gives your doctor a good idea how your heart, lung and muscles are working.

Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: This non-invasive imaging test, called a nuclear stress test, can reveal areas of the heart with insufficient blood flow and assess the efficiency of the heart muscle’s pumping action. The two methods: Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET).

Cardiac Blood Pool Scan: An alternative to an echocardiogram that provides a snapshot of the beating heart while measuring how much blood is ejected by the left ventricle with each beat. How it works: After a radioactive substance known as a tracer is injected into a vein, a gamma camera follows the flow of blood through the heart and lungs. Also known as the multiple gated acquisition scan, or MUGA, or radionuclide ventriculography.

Technetium-Pyrophosphate Imaging for Cardiac Amyloidosis: A scan that uses the radioactive isotope pyrophosphate to check for cardiomyopathy, an abnormality of the heart muscle.

EKG/ECG

An electrocardiogram records the spikes and dips of your heart’s electrical activity, typically with a device connected to a laptop that stores the results. 

Coronary Angiogram (Cardiac Catheterization)

A technology that uses dye and special X-rays to reveal the interior of your coronary arteries. This test requires cardiac catheterization, with small tubes inserted in a vein or artery (in the leg, arm or neck) that reach the heart so you doctor can use blood samples and blood pressures to evaluate the organ. Because an angiogram uses more powerful X-rays than a conventional chest X-ray, doctors will perform only when it’s considered essential. 

Right Heart Catheterization

A catheter guided to the right side of the heart and into the pulmonary artery -- the heart’s main artery that brings blood to the lungs -- allows your doctor to check blood flow and measure pressure in the heart and lungs. 

Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA)

Where a traditional angiogram requires a catheter, this test uses a powerful X-ray machine.  

Calcium Scoring

A non-invasive CT scan of the heart, also known as cardiac scoring or heart scan.

Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)

The most frequently recommended type of echocardiogram, an ultrasound test that relies on a transducer that sends high-pitched sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart.

Holter Monitor

A device worn by the patient that records the heart’s electrical signals for a much longer period, usually 24 or 48 hours.

Event Recorder

A wearable device, similar to an EKG, that records the heart rhythm.

Loop Recorder

A device implanted in they in the chest area that acts like an EKG, monitoring your heart’s electrical signals. 

Tilt Table Test

Blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm monitored while the patient shifts from lying down to standing up. In this scenario, blood pressure and heart rate change to ensure the brain gets enough blood. If they don’t change, this could explain why a patient fainted.

EP (Electrophysiology) Study

A wire inserted through a vein into your groin or arm to the heart records the heart’s electrical signals. This test is useful for doctors who wish to stimulate your heart to cause an arrhythmia, giving them insight into which medicines might help.

Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Detailed images of your heart are available through an MRI’s powerful magnetic field and radio waves.

Carotid Artery Duplex Scan

Two types of ultrasound, conventional (B-mode) and Doppler, look for blockages in your carotid arteries.

Vascular Studies

Tests using ultrasound that evaluate the blood flow in your arteries and veins. Doppler ultrasound provides a view of blood flow and any indication of a blockage. Color Doppler uses colors to highlight blood flow.

Myocardial Viability Study

A viability scan that evaluates blood flow from the heart after an injection of a radioactive drug called Thallium 201. When taken after a heart attack (myocardial infarction), the test reveals healthy heart muscle. (The drug does not accumulate similarly in scarred heart muscle.)

Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

This test uses ultrasound, like an echocardiogram, but the echotransducer that produces the high-frequency sound waves is placed down your throat and into your esophagus.

Chest X-ray

A basic chest X-ray helps your doctor determine if your pacemaker, defibrillator or other heart device is positioned properly.

Venogram

A view of your veins, using a special dye and X-rays, that can help diagnose deep vein thrombosis or other vein abnormalities.

Ankle Brachial Index Test

A measurement of blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm, either while you’re at rest or as part of an treadmill test, used to assess peripheral arterial disease of the legs.

To make an appointment for a diagnostic test, contact one of our cardiologists.


Our Cardiovascular Diagnostic
Imaging and Testing Physicians:

Meet Our Cardiologists

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Name Specialties Location
Abreu, Joseph Edward, MD, FACC
860.489.1132
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Torrington
Agarwal, Arun, MD
860.223.0220
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • New Britain
Aithal, Keshava Harthattu, MD
860.347.4258
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • Middletown
Ansari, Ehsan, MD
203.573.1435
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interventional Cardiology
Show Less
  • Waterbury
Arcoleo, James Anthony, DO
860.749.1985
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Endovascular Medicine
  • Vascular Medicine
Show Less
  • Enfield
Atef, Amr Mohamed, MD
860.886.0023
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • Norwich
  • Willimantic
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Attaran, Ramak Abumehdi, MD
860.886.2679
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Norwich
Azemi, Talhat, MD
860.972.5083
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Endovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nuclear Cardiology
  • Vascular Medicine
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  • Hartford
Berns, Ellison M., MD
860.258.3477
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • Wethersfield
Bernstein, Frederic Jacob, DO
860.545.9401
  • Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pediatrics
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  • Hartford
Bhatt, Paras Satish, MD
860.889.9180
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
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  • Norwich
Bingham, Abigail, APRN
860.972.1793
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hartford
Bleich, Steven, MD
860.522.0604
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
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  • Hartford
Borer, Steven Michael, DO, FACC
860.522.5712
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nuclear Cardiology
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  • Hartford
  • Farmington
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Borkowski, Robert D., MD
860.229.6811
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
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  • New Britain
Bradbury, William Michael, MD, FACC
860.963.7519
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Putnam
  • Plainfield
  • Plainfield
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Brennan, Paige James, MD
860.886.2679
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • Norwich
Cahill, Johanna B., PA-C
860.522.0604
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hartford
Calabrese, Nicola, APRN
203.537.7845
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Meriden
Callan-Heiligmann, Catherine A., APRN
860.224.5274
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • New Britain
Campbell, Carol Lynn, APRN
860.522.0604
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hartford
Canter, Lisa Tammy, MD, FACC
860.963.7519
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Putnam
  • Plainfield
  • Plainfield
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Casey, David Madigan, MD
860.258.3477
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nuclear Cardiology
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  • Glastonbury
  • Wethersfield
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Chandra, Shalabh, MD
860.749.1985
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
Show Less
  • Enfield
Charron, Jaime, APRN
860.456.2898
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Willimantic

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Our Cardiovascular Diagnostic Imaging and Testing Locations: