At Mayo Clinic, doctors trained in heart conditions (cardiologists), heart rhythm conditions (electrophysiologists) and other specialties evaluate and treat people who have arrhythmias.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor may review your symptoms and your medical and family history, and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may order several tests to diagnose your condition and determine the type and severity of your arrhythmia and the most appropriate treatment.
- Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to check thyroid hormone and potassium levels in your blood, which may lead to arrhythmia.
- Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray takes images of your chest, heart and lungs, which may help your doctor to see if your heart is enlarged.
- Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram). In this test, sound waves create detailed images of your heart's size, structure and motion. Your doctor may order a transesophageal echocardiogram. In this test, a doctor inserts a flexible tube with a probe (transducer) attached into your esophagus to take detailed images of your heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). In an ECG, doctors place sensor patches (electrodes) on your skin to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An ECG measures the timing and rhythm of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
- Electrophysiology study. In this test, your doctor inserts thin, flexible tubes (catheters) with electrodes at the tips in a blood vessel in your arm or groin and threads them through your blood vessels to several places within your heart. Once in place, the electrodes can precisely map the spread of electrical impulses throughout your heart.
- Event recorder. An event recorder is a portable ECG device that you can activate when you experience symptoms.
- Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device that you wear for a day or more to record your heart's electrical activity during your daily routine.
- Stress test. In a stress test, your heart is monitored by an ECG or other tests as you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. If you have difficulty exercising, your doctor may give you a drug to help stimulate your heart in a similar way as during exercise.
- Tilt table testing. Your doctor sometimes may order this test if you experience fainting spells. In this test, you lie on a table that moves from a horizontal to a vertical position as your doctor watches your symptoms, heart rate and other factors.
Read more about chest X-rays, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, Holter monitor, stress test and tilt table test.