When you visit Heart of Melbourne, you will likely have an Electrocardiogram or “ECG” performed.
Your heart muscles contract and relax based on a rhythm of electricity. An ECG shows a snapshot of the electrical activity within your heart during the space of approximately 10 heartbeats. It can determine if the muscles of your heart are conducting this electricity correctly, or if these muscles are moving too quickly or too slowly.
You will be asked to lay on the examination couch and stickers known as electrodes will be stuck to ten specific points on your body. Leads will be connected to them from a recording device that shows the technician the electrical readings, or 'trace'.
The shape of the trace can be interpreted by a medical practitioner, and based on any variants in the lines, it can assist in diagnosing any irregularities in heart beats, or damage that may have occurred to the heart muscle.
This is a completely non-invasive test and should take approximately five minutes from start to finish. Without any preparation or recovery needed, these ECG's are a simple yet vital starting point for your consultation or diagnosis of cardiac concerns.
As a non-invasive, and mostly inconspicuous test, the holter monitor is a common and highly specific tool to assist in the diagnosis of causes behind symptoms such as palpitations, or shortness of breath.
Holter monitoring is an extremely common and non-invasive measure of assessing heart function over a period of time. While they are most commonly performed over 24 hours, Heart of Melbourne has the capability to utilise a holter monitor for recordings of up to 7 days.
A holter monitor follows the same principles as an ECG, and uses stickers and leads to take a continuous trace while you go about your daily activities. If your cardiac symptoms 'come and go' and are not present all the time, we may use a holter monitor which can capture the tiniest changes in your heart function down to single beats in a 24 hour period.
The stickers known as electrodes will be stuck to your chest at three or five specific points, and will connect to leads. The leads are then connected to a small device no bigger than a mobile phone which will sit in your pocket or on the waistband of your clothing.
The device is discreet and will go mostly unnoticed, and while you can't shower or get the device or leads wet, you should continue your regular daily activities as you would on a normal day.
After the desired time period of recording, you will bring the device back to the clinic and the trace will be uploaded, then analysed by a highly experienced cardiac technician, and reported on by our cardiologists in regards to your specific symptoms.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM)
Blood Pressure or BP can fluctuate between normal limits during your daily life. It can increase during times of stress or exercise, and decrease during sleep or relaxation. Relating directly to the force of your heart muscles, if your blood pressure varies outside the normal limits, it can be a sign of abnormality in your cardiac function.
An Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor or ABPM is a non-invasive means of monitoring your blood pressure levels during a 24 hour period.
A cuff is worn around your upper arm, similar to the one your GP may use. The cuff connects to a recorder for 24 hours, and will take one reading every 30 minutes in the day, and one reading every 60 minutes at night. It will inflate and squeeze your upper arm to evaluate the force of your blood flow.
While you cannot shower or get the device wet, you can still go about your daily activities. When the BP cuff inflates, if it is safe to do so, we recommend to simply relax your arm and allow the reading to be taken.
As Heart of Melbourne wish to keep this test readily available for our patients, we offer it at a very small out of pocket fee, paid on the day of your appointment. When you bring back the device, the recording will be uploaded by our technicians, and analysed by our cardiologists. A graph of your readings and a report will be formulated for your GP, or ready for your consultation with our specialists.
At Heart of Melbourne we bulk bill all eligible investigations including ECG and Holter. ABPM is offered at a very small out of pocket fee.