Diagnostic tests

We can use a variety of tests to assess how your heart responds in different situations. These tests may be used to diagnose new conditions or assess existing ones. 

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Patient having ECG performed by cardiac physiologistAn ECG records the rhythm and electrical activity of the heart. 

Small patches called electrodes are placed on your arms, legs and chest. These are connected to a recording machine which picks up the electrical signals produced by each heart beat.  

The test can show problems with your heart rhythm, but you are likely to have other tests as well as an ECG.

Exercise stress test

An exercise stress test aims to assess your tolerance and response to exercise. This test is also referred to as an ‘exercise tolerance test’ or just an ‘exercise test’.

Cardio pulmonary exercise test

A cardio pulmonary exercise test is used to assess the response of the heart and lungs to exercise. The test is useful for a number of cardiac and respiratory conditions.

Tilt table test

A tilt table test is designed to look at how your body responds to standing upright for a long period of time. You may be referred for this test if you have had episodes of fainting, collapse or passing out with an unknown cause. It aims to induce your symptoms in a controlled and safe environment where you can be monitored. The results will hopefully explain why you might be having these episodes.

Autonomic function test

An autonomic function test is designed to look at how your body responds to certain situations. You may be referred for this test if you have had episodes of fainting, collapse or passing out with an unknown cause. The test aims to induce your symptoms in a controlled and safe environment where you can be monitored. The results will hopefully explain why you might be having these episodes.