Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists), heart rhythm conditions (electrophysiologists), and other specialties evaluate your condition.

To diagnose ventricular tachycardia, your doctor may review your symptoms and your family and medical history and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may order several tests to diagnose your condition, determine the severity of your condition and determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

  • Electrophysiology tests. During an electrophysiology test, your doctors insert thin, flexible tubes (catheters) with electrodes at the tips in a blood vessel in your arm or groin and thread them through your blood vessels to several areas within your heart. Once in place, the electrodes precisely map the spread of electrical impulses throughout your heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In an ECG, sensor patches with wires attached (electrodes) on your skin measure your heart's electrical impulses.
  • Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram). In this test, sound waves create detailed images of your heart's size, structure and motion.
  • Coronary angiogram. In this test, doctors insert a catheter into your blood vessels and inject a type of dye that's visible on X-ray through the catheter into your blood vessels. The dye shows the inside of your blood vessels and shows whether coronary artery disease is causing ventricular tachycardia.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to check thyroid hormone or potassium levels in your blood that may lead to ventricular tachycardia.
  • Stress test. During a stress test, you'll exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle — or take a drug that simulates heart activity during exercise — while an electrocardiogram or other tests monitor your heart activity.
  • 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.
  • Event monitor. An event monitor is a portable ECG device that you can activate when you experience symptoms of an arrhythmia.
Nov. 20, 2012