Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects an underlying problem, such as congenital heart disease, or if you have other signs and symptoms that may suggest Ebstein's anomaly, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray shows a picture of your heart, lungs and blood vessels. It can reveal if your heart is enlarged, which may be due to Ebstein's anomaly.
  • Echocardiogram. This noninvasive exam uses ultrasonic waves to show images of your heart. It can detect most congenital heart defects. Ultrasonic waves are transmitted through a device called a transducer, which a technician will move over your heart. The echoes of the waves are recorded and produce images of your heart on a computer monitor so that your doctor can see the valves and chambers of your heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG uses sensors (electrodes) attached to your chest and limbs to measure the timing and duration of your heartbeat. An ECG can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart's rhythm and structure, and offer clues as to the presence of an extra pathway.
  • Holter monitor testing. This is a portable version of an ECG. It's especially useful in diagnosing rhythm disturbances that occur at unpredictable times. You wear the monitor under your clothing. It records information about the electrical activity of your heart as you go about your normal activities for a day or two.
  • Exercise stress test. During this test, you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle while your blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm and breathing are monitored. A stress test may be used to get an idea of how your heart responds to exercise. It can help your doctor decide what level of physical activity is safe for you.
  • Cardiac MRI. In a cardiac MRI, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces detailed images of your heart's structure.
  • Cardiac catheterization. Doctors rarely use this more invasive technique for Ebstein's anomaly. In a few cases, however, a person may need cardiac catheterization to obtain additional information, to confirm findings from other tests, or to check heart arteries. During cardiac catheterization, a slender, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a vein or artery at the top of your leg (groin) or into your arm. Aided by X-ray images on a monitor, your doctor threads the catheter through that artery until it reaches your heart. A special dye injected through the catheter helps your doctor see the blood flow through your heart, blood vessels and valves, and allows your doctor to check for abnormalities inside the heart and lungs.
Jan. 21, 2016