Diagnoses

A doctor may use several techniques to diagnose an arrhythmia. They may be:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – This is the most common test used to diagnose arrhythmias. Electrodes are placed on your skin, and they measure the electrical activity of the heart. The doctor will analyze the graph to learn more about how your heart is contracting (the rhythm), the size of your heart chambers, and the muscle of your heart.
  • Holter Monitor – The Holter monitor is a small, portable ECG that you will wear for 24 hours. You must also record your activities and symptoms while wearing the Holter monitor. It is helpful for examining random heart disturbances that may not occur at the doctor’s office during an ECG.
  • Chest X-Ray – This X-Ray will take an image of your heart, lungs, and bones in the chest.
  • Echocardiogram – An echocardiogram uses sound waves to get a picture of your heart’s valves and chambers. This helps determine how your heart is pumping and how the blood is flowing through the valves.
  • Electrophysiology Studies (EPS) – In these studies, one or more catheters are inserted into an artery in your leg and led up to your heart. The catheters measure the electrical impulses and pathways in your heart. This may help determine where the arrhythmia originates and what is causing it.
  • Tilt Test – During this test, you will lay down on a bed that tilts while your blood pressure, oxygen level, and electrical impulses in your heart are monitored. The tilt test will help determine if your blood pressure or your nervous system control of the heart contribute to any fainting spells.
  • Biopsy – In a biopsy, a device will get a small piece of your heart muscle tissue. The tissue sample will be analyzed in a lab and under a microscope to try to diagnose certain cardiac disorders.