Noninvasive Testing for Cardiac Conditions
Classifying patients that are at risk for symptomatic coronary artery disease, such as myocardial infraction or sudden cardiac death is a daunting task. One that is amplified under the time constraints of the Emergency Department. To accurately assess and determine the risk of a patient experiencing such cardiac trauma, medical providers must consider multiple factors such as the patient’s history, physical exam, electrocardiogram results, and cardio biomarker levels, if they are released at the time of stress or damage to the heart. Noninvasive cardiac testing instruments can assist in assessing patient risk. Noninvasive cardiac test include:
- Exercise stress testing
- Pharmacologic stress testing
- Myocardial perfusion imaging
- Stress echocardiography
- Cardiac computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
The accuracy of treatment planning for cardiac conditions is contingent upon a medical provider’s ability to utilize and interpret the results of these noninvasive cardiac test. In many cases, patients presenting to the Emergency Department with cardiac complaints may have already undergone noninvasive cardiac testing during an earlier episode of care. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment is essential. Emergency Departments are incorporating these test into diagnostic protocols for triaging cardiac conditions. Medical providers preparing to work in this segment of medicine must have a clear understanding of the assessment and diagnostic tools available. Additional research on this topic is recommended, especially for those preparing to enter the medical field.
1 Krause, R., Brenner, B., Koenig, B., Talavera, F., Lang, E., Peak, D. (2016, December 18). Cardiac Test. Retrieved from emedicine.medscape.com.
2 American Association for Chemistry. (2017, December 30). Cardiac Biomarkers. Retrieved from labtestonline.org.