Testing and Diagnosis
University Children’s Health Heart Center offers diagnostic tests on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
Our team will run tests to diagnose your child’s congenital heart disease and create a treatment plan. Our pediatric heart specialists stay up-to-date with the very latest surgical treatments as well as minimally invasive interventional cardiology treatments.
Sometimes, standard diagnostic tools do not give us a clear view of the heart. Diagnostic cardiac catheterization produces a clearer image.
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:
- Coronary angiogram measures how blood flows through the heart
- Diagnostic electrophysiology finds problems with the heart's electrical system
- Intracardiac ultrasound produces images of the heart
- Biopsy, in which the doctor takes samples of blood or heart muscle for further testing in a lab
Other imaging tests can help diagnose a congenital heart defect.
We use imaging tests, including:
- CT (computed tomography), a type of X-ray that creates images
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a powerful, harmless magnetic field and radio waves produce detailed images inside the body
- X-rays, a diagnostic imaging test
Echocardiograms are the gold standard for imaging a child’s heart. 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.
Our pediatric echocardiography team is dedicated solely to the care of pediatric patients. The pediatric echocardiography team members at University Children’s Health Heart Center are some of the most skilled echocardiography professionals in the region with over 75 years of combined experience.
Two Types of Pediatric Echocardiograms:
- Transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE) are noninvasive. A transducer makes images of the heart through an ultrasound.
- Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) are minimally invasive. The pediatric cardiologist guides a scope down the throat to get a clearer view of the heart. We perform these studies before and after every open-heart surgery to provide real-time information about your child’s heart surgery.
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 to record sporadic events and ensure a more complete picture of the electrical system of the heart.