Heart Failure

Frequently Asked Questions

9. What tests might a specialist order?

Once initial tests have been performed, your doctor may decide to send you to a cardiologist, a specialist in diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. A cardiologist will perform a physical exam and may order other tests. There are several tests that can identify the cause of heart failure. These tests include:

  • An echocardiogram is one of the most useful tests for diagnosing heart failure. This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the heart and shows how well the heart is filling with blood. Your doctor uses this test to determine whether any areas of your heart are damaged.
  • A Holter monitor, which is a small box that is attached to patches placed on your chest. The monitor, which is worn for 24 hours, provides a continuous recording of heart rhythm during normal activity.
  • An exercise stress test captures your EKG and blood pressure before, during, or after exercise to see how your heart responds to exercise. This test tells doctors how your heart responds to activity.