Glossary of our Tests

Glossary of our Tests

Dorset Heart Clinic offers a range of tests and investigations to help formulate a diagnosis for patients with a heart condition.

The majority of these tests are offered at our clinic. Some investigations, for example, plain film x-ray, Cardiac CT and Cardiac MRI are performed wihin Derriford hospital through our partnership with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.

Click on the tests below to learn more about what is involved.

A blood pressure recorder is fitted to your chest to allow BP monitoring over longer periods. The monitor is then returned to the clinic and analysed.

This monitoring measures the electrical activity of your heart over a longer period than an ECG. 

This test shows how the heart, lungs and muscles react when exercise is undertaken.

This minimally invasive procedure is used to visualise the coronary arteries and assess the severity of any blockage. 


This scan is used to ascertain the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 5-10 years.

An ‘echo’ is an ultrasound scan of the heart to assess structure and function.

An ECG is a simple test that looks at the electrical activity of the heart. 

This study analyses the heart’s electrical activity and is used to diagnose the cause of abnormal heartbeats. 

Monitors are used to provide a prolonged record of a heart’s operation and symptoms

This test measures the effects on the heart rhythm and blood pressure when exercise is undertaken. This usually involves running on a treadmill or sometimes using an exercise bicycle.

This device records a heart’s rhythm continuously for up to two years. 

These scans enable cardiologists to view detailed images of the heart’s anatomy.

This is a procedure that uses ‘echo’ and ECG to assess how the heart’s blood vessels are working using either exercise or a drug to increase the heart rate.

A tilt table test, occasionally called upright tilt testing, is a procedure often used to diagnose dysautonomia or syncope. The head-up tilt table test is a way to find the cause of fainting spells. You lie on a bed and you’re tilted at different angles (from 30 to 60 degrees) while machines monitor your blood pressure, electrical impulses in your heart, and oxygen level.

Sometimes an ‘echo’ scan of the heart requires an ultrasound probe to be passed down the food pipe to provide a clearer image

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