Patient Test Information

Prior to your first appointment, please complete the New Patient Questionnaire

For all appointments, please bring all your medications or a list of your medications.

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Electrocardiogram "ECG"

Stickers (electrodes) connected to a recorder are attached to your legs, arms, and chest to record heart tracings. This gives doctors information about different aspects of your heart. This may require shaving the hair so they stick well and will take about 5 minutes.

Exercise Treadmill Test "ETT" or "Stress Test"

This test checks for blockages in the heart arteries. Stickers (electrodes) connected to a recorder are attached to your legs, arms, and chest to record heart tracings while you exercise on a treadmill. This may require shaving the hair so they stick well and will take about 30 minutes. A cardiology technologist will perform the test. The treadmill starts slowly and gradually gets faster and steeper and you can stop at any time.

To prepare for the test: 

  • Have only a light snack in the 2-3 hours before the test

  • Bring comfortable shoes and clothes for walking

  • Hold medications only if instructed to do so

24-hour Holter Monitor "Holter"

This test checks the heart rate and rhythm over 24 hours using stickers (electrodes) attached to your chest and to a device the size of a deck of cards. This may require shaving the hair so they stick well. It will take about 10 minutes to put the monitor on. While wearing the monitor, you should do your normal activities and record symptoms in a diary (short of breath, irregular heart beats, chest discomfort, lightheadedness) and what you were doing (walking, eating, etc). You MUST NOT shower, bathe or swim to avoid getting the device wet. Please return the monitor after 24 hours.

Cardiac Event Monitor "SpiderFlash"

This test checks the heart rate and rhythm over 2-4 weeks using stickers (electrodes) attached to your chest and to a device the size of a deck of cards. This may require shaving the hair so they stick well. It will take about 10 minutes to put the monitor on. While wearing the monitor, you should do your normal activities and press the button and record in a diary if you have symptoms (short of breath, irregular heart beats, chest discomfort, lightheadedness) and what you were doing (walking, eating, etc). You can remove the monitor to bathe or shower as you will have extra electrodes to re-apply. While the monitor is on, you MUST avoid getting it wet.

Nuclear Stress Test "MIBI"

This test checks for blockages in the heart arteries when a treadmill stress test is not suitable. Stickers (electrodes) connected to a recorder are attached to your legs, arms, and chest to record the heart tracings. This may require shaving the hair so they stick well. We will give you a trace amount of radioactive material through your vein at rest and also after you exercise. A variation of the test uses a medication instead of exercise. The test may take up to 4 hours. The radioactive material leaves your body over 2 weeks.

To prepare for the test: 

  • 24 hours before the test, stop all caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, decaf coffee and tea, cola, chocolate, Tylenol #1,2,3)

  • 4 hours before the test, do not eat or drink, except sips of water and medications

  • Bring snacks or money to buy snacks, and bring your medications

  • Bring an interpreter if you have trouble understanding English

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes

Echocardiogram "Echo"

This is an ultrasound of your heart that gives information on your heart function and valves. You will wear a hospital gown and lie on a stretcher. A trained technologist will use a plastic wand over your chest to get different views of your heart. This is not painful. The test takes about 30 minutes. There is no special preparation. To change your appointment at St. Paul's Hospital, call 604-806-8018.

Coronary angiogram "Cath"

This test is the gold standard to look for blockages in the heart arteries, which may be treated with stents to open the blockage. You will receive freezing at the wrist or groin and the cardiologist will insert a tube through your artery and into the heart. Special dye will be injected to light up the heart arteries. To change your appointment at St. Paul's Hospital, call 604-806-8400.

To prepare for the test: 

  • No solid food after midnight the night before the test

  • Drink lots of clear fluids and stop 3 hours before the test

  • Bring an interpreter if you have trouble understanding English

  • Have someone accompany you after the test and stay with you overnight

  • Hold medications only if instructed to do so

© 2016 Dr. Annie Chou Inc. All rights reserved.

QUALITY CARDIAC CARE FROM THE HEART