Cardiology is the medical speciality dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the heart.
Cardiologists are specialists in diseases of the heart. The biggest area of heart disease treated is coronary artery disease e.g. angina. Also treated are abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, high blood pressure and some rarer conditions.
Cardiologists usually treat heart disease with drugs. Some of them are also able to provide treatment for coronary heart disease with coronary angioplasty (a procedure by which the arteries of the heart are widened). If heart surgery is required, a cardiologist will refer you on to see a cardiothoracic surgeon who would perform the surgery.
An Electrocardiograph (or ECG as it is commonly called) is a measure of the electrical activity of your heart. The technician will place ten electrodes on your arms, legs and chest and wires are attached to these electrodes to take the measurement.
This test is completely pain free and will take approximately five minutes to perform although there might be a small wait depending on how busy the department is at the time of your visit.
Exercise Tolerance Testing (ETT)
An exercise tolerance test or exercise stress test is designed to test the performance of your heart by imposing a workload on your heart. This is done by asking you to walk on a treadmill. At all times your ECG and your blood pressure will be monitored so you will be completely safe when performing the test. This test will ensure that enough oxygen is getting to all of your heart muscle when you put it under the pressure of exercise.
It is important that you stay on the treadmill as long as possible, as the longer you stay on the more information is obtained from the test. If you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or any other symptoms, notify the technician and doctor present immediately.
It is necessary for you to wear loose comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes for this test. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to stop some of your medications before undertaking this test, so please talk to either the doctor ordering the test or the technician making your appointment.