Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose Eisenmenger syndrome, your doctor will discuss your medical history, perform a physical examination and order appropriate diagnostic tests. These tests may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test records the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes attached to the skin. This test helps diagnose heart defects that cause Eisenmenger syndrome.
  • Chest X-ray. Your doctor may order a chest X-ray to look for heart and pulmonary artery enlargement.
  • Echocardiogram. During an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), sound waves create detailed images of your heart. This allows doctors to see the structure of your heart and blood flow through your heart to look for heart defects.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests may be done to check your blood cell counts which are often high in Eisenmenger syndrome. Your kidney and liver function and your iron level also may be measured with blood tests.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. In this test, you'll lie in a machine that takes images of your lungs so that your doctors can see a cross-section of them. You might also be given dye that makes the images of your lungs show up more clearly.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test, which uses no X-rays, is sometimes used to get images of the blood vessels in your lungs. A computer creates tissue "slices" from data generated by a powerful magnetic field and radio waves.
  • Cardiac catheterization. In this test, doctors insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into an artery in your groin and guide the catheter to your heart using X-ray imaging. Doctors use cardiac catheterization to measure blood pressure in your blood vessels or heart's chambers, the size of any septal defect, the pressures across the defect, and the amount of blood in your heart and lungs. If you need to have cardiac catheterization done, make sure you choose a cardiologist who has expertise diagnosing and treating Eisenmenger syndrome.
  • Walking test. Your doctor may order a six-minute walk test to check your tolerance to a mild level of exercise.
Jul. 25, 2012