Consultation: Evaluation of history, old records, and tests; physical examination of patient; discussion with family. A letter is always sent to the referring physician or facility.
Echocardiography: Test using sound waves to take pictures of the heart and determine blood flow. There is no risk or discomfort, the test takes less than 30 minutes, and the results are immediately available to the physician and to the family. Echocardiography can be used to study the child's heart or the heart of a fetus before birth.
Oxygen Saturation: Non-invasive test to determine amount of oxygen in the blood without actually taking a sample of the child's blood. This takes less than five minutes.
Electrocardiogram: Test of the function and rhythm of the heartbeat. Small electrodes are applied to the child's chest; the test takes about 10 minutes.
Holter/Wrist/Event Recording: Test to evaluate the heart rhythm over 24 hours or longer. Different recording devices are used at home, depending on patient size and the child's precise rhythm problem.
Fetal Echocardiography: Ultrasound (echo) technology can scan through the walls of the stomach and the uterus to take pictures of the baby and the baby's heart. As early as five months into the pregnancy, pictures can be taken of the fetal heart walls and valves as well as the major blood vessels. This can relieve a family that the child's heart is normal, or when abnormal, preparations can be made.
There are also times when the fetal heart rhythm is abnormal. This can be detected by fetal echo and effects on the fetus can be determined. Sometimes, medications are necessary and can be given to the mother for treatment of the fetus.
Fetal echocardiography is routinely used when a mother has had a previous baby with congenital heart disease, when the mother is over 40 years of age, or when there is a chromosomal abnormality detected in the fetus. For more information, click here.
Pacemaker Evaluation: All heart pacemakers currently used in children can be checked and adjusted from outside the child's body. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization: Test to measure pressures more accurately and to take more detailed pictures than are possible using echocardiography. This involves temporary placement of a small plastic tube in the vein or artery of the leg; the child is sedated for the test which usually takes one to two hours. Most caths are done on an outpatient basis.
Therapeutic Cardiac Catheterization: There are many heart conditions that can be repaired -- without surgery -- through the same plastic tube used in diagnostic catheterization studies. Some of these children stay one night in hospital after the procedures, while others may be discharged the same day. For more information, click TCC.
Exercise stress testing: Test of the heart's ability to respond appropriately to exercise. It is performed to ensure that there is proper blood flow to the heart muscle during exercise as well as to assess the hearth rhythm and blood pressure response during times of stress. Occasionally, it is done along with an echocardiogram.