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Cardiology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the heart as well as parts of the circulatory system. The field includes medical diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease and electrophysiology. Physicians who specialize in this field of medicine are called cardiologists, a specialty of internal medicine. Pediatric cardiologists are pediatricians who specialize in cardiology. Physicians who specialize in cardiac surgery are called cardiothoracic surgeons or cardiac surgeons, a specialty of general surgery..

Electrocardiography (ECG)

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG[a]) is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed over the skin. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle's electrophysiologic pattern of depolarizing and repolarizing during each heartbeat. It is very commonly performed to detect any cardiac problems.


In a conventional 12-lead ECG, ten electrodes are placed on the patient's limbs and on the surface of the chest. The overall magnitude of the heart's electrical potential is then measured from twelve different angles ("leads") and is recorded over a period of time (usually ten seconds). In this way, the overall magnitude and direction of the heart's electrical depolarization is captured at each moment throughout the cardiac cycle.The graph of voltage versus time produced by this noninvasive medical procedure is an electrocardiogram.

Echochardiography

An echocardiogram, often referred to as a cardiac echo or simply an echo, is a sonogram of the heart.Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart.


Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function, such as a calculation of the cardiac output, ejection fraction, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes).
Echocardiography can help detect cardiomyopathies, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and many others. The use of stress echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is not invasive (does not involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.

Treadmill Test

A treadmill exercise stress test is used to determine the effects of exercise on the heart. Exercise allows doctors to detect abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and diagnose the presence or absence of coronary artery disease.


This test involves walking in place on a treadmill while monitoring the electrical activity of your heart. Throughout the test, the speed and incline of the treadmill increase. The results show how well your heart responds to the stress of different levels of exercise.

Holter Monitor

In medicine, a Holter monitor (often simply Holter) is a type of ambulatory electrocardiography device, a portable device for cardiac monitoring (the monitoring of the electrical activity of the cardiovascular system) for at least 24 to 48 hours (often for two weeks at a time).


The Holter's most common use is for monitoring ECG heart activity (electrocardiography or ECG). Its extended recording period is sometimes useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmias which would be difficult to identify in a shorter period. For patients having more transient symptoms, a cardiac event monitor which can be worn for a month or more can be used.
When used to study the heart, much like standard electrocardiography, the Holter monitor records electrical signals from the heart via a series of electrodes attached to the chest. Electrodes are placed over bones to minimize artifacts from muscular activity. The electrodes are connected to a small piece of equipment that is attached to the patient's belt or hung around the neck, keeping a log of the heart's electrical activity throughout the recording period.