Imaging tests are key to the congenital heart diagnostic process. These tools allow our doctors to learn more about your child’s condition. Our team uses several imaging exams, including:
CT (computed tomography) – a type of X-ray that creates detailed images
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) –uses a powerful, harmless magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
- X-rays – a diagnostic imaging test
An echocardiogram test uses sound waves to create images of your child’s heart. We perform pediatric echocardiograms and fetal echocardiograms. Fetal echocardiograms help us diagnose heart problems in unborn babies so we can plan for any special needs or treatment your baby will need after birth.
The team members at University Children’s Health Heart Center are some of the most skilled echocardiography professionals in the region. In 2015, the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission recognized our center for the outstanding quality of its patient care.
There are two main types of pediatric echocardiograms:
- Transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE) A noninvasive device called a transducer, produces images and sounds of the heart through an ultrasound.
- Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) are minimally invasive. A scope is guided down the throat to get a clearer view of the heart.
An ECG exam measures the electrical activity of the heart through small skin patches called electrodes. The test will help determine if your child’s heart is beating normally, if there is a congenital (present at birth) heart disease, or if there is damage to the heart.
If more information than a standard ECG can provide is needed, your child may have to wear a Holter monitor. A Holter monitor functions similarly to an ECG, but is worn for 24 to 48 hours.
Sometimes, standard diagnostic tools do not give us a clear enough view of the heart. If this is the case, diagnostic cardiac catheterization is often the right option.
During this procedure, a doctor will thread a long, thin tube called a catheter into the heart through a blood vessel. Several tests can be performed with the help of diagnostic cardiac catheterization, including:
Biopsy – where samples of blood or heart muscle are taken.
- Coronary angiogram – measures how blood flows through your child’s heart
- Diagnostic electrophysiology –evaluates problems with the electrical system of the heart.
- Ultrasound – high frequency sound waves produce images of the heart.