Screening & Diagnostic Tests

Partner with the specialists at Essentia Health for screening and diagnostic tests that can help identify heart and vascular conditions. You can rely on our experienced doctors for safe, accurate, and comprehensive testing services.

Screening tests are done to check for problems before symptoms appear. Your doctor may recommend certain screening tests depending on your risk factors, family history, and overall health. Diagnostic tests are performed if you have symptoms of a heart condition.

When to be Tested

Your primary care doctor may recommend certain diagnostic tests if you have signs of a heart condition. Sometimes, heart conditions cause noticeable symptoms and sometimes they don't. Talk to your primary care doctor if you experience symptoms like:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles or feet

Imaging Tests

The following cardiac imaging tests show how your heart and blood vessels are working.

  • Angiogram – Uses an injection of contrast dye to make your blood vessels show up on an X-ray
  • Coronary calcium scoring – Looks for early stages of heart disease in your arteries using computed tomography (CT)
  • Cardiac catheterization – Places a thin, flexible tube in your heart to get information about the heart and blood vessels on an X-ray
  • Echocardiogram – Uses an ultrasound test to show how the heart beats and pumps blood
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Creates detailed pictures of your heart
  • A PET scan – Uses an injection of contrast dye to make your heart and blood vessels visible on a camera

Heart Stress Tests

During this test, your heart rate is tracked while you use an exercise machine like a treadmill. If you can't perform the exercise, you will be given a medication to mimic the effects of exercise on your heart.

You may also need stress echocardiogram. This test takes ultrasound images of your heart before and after an exercise stress test.

Heart Rhythm Tests

An arrhythmia is a condition where your heart beats irregularly, either too fast or too slow. To check for an arrhythmia, you may have one of the following three tests:

  • Cardiac electrophysiologic (EP) study, also called heart mapping – Uses a thin, flexible tube to send electrical signals to your heart and record how it responds
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – Records your heart’s electrical activity using electrodes placed on your skin
  • Loop recorder, or implantable event monitor— Reveals your heart’s electrical activity

Vascular Tests

Trust the vascular medicine experts at Essentia for tests to check for blockages, hardening of the arteries, or other problems.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a referral from your primary care provider or a specialist for this service.