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Diagnostic Testing

The evaluation and treatment of a person with heart disease involves a variety of tests and procedures. Many of these tests and procedures may be repeated during your evaluation before heart transplant surgery and again after your heart transplant. If you have any questions about these tests before heart transplant, ask your doctor, nurse practitioner or any other member of the transplant team.

Some of the tests before Heart Transplant include:

  • CT scan (computed tomography)
    An X-ray technique for detecting masses or abnormalities in the body. A narrow X-ray beam directed by a computer revolves around you on an examination table. This computer compiles the information into a picture of your body.
  • Ultrasound
    A test that uses high-frequency sound waves to identify your organs and any abnormalities that might not show up on a normal X-ray. This test can also detect how fast your blood flows through a blood vessel.
  • Heart biopsy
    A procedure to obtain a small piece of heart tissue through a small hollow tube placed through a neck vein.
  • Colonoscopy
    A procedure to examine the large intestine or colon to detect and diagnose abnormalities such as erosions, enlarged veins, inflammation, hemorrhage (internal bleeding) or hemorrhoids.
  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs)
    Tests to evaluate how well you breathe during and after your surgery.
  • Echocardiogram (ECHO)
    A test of your heart to show the position and motion of the walls of your heart and the function of your heart valves. It is also used to diagnose congenital heart disease, valvular disease, cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart muscle), and pericardial effusions (accumulation of fluid around the heart).
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
    A test of your heart's electrical activity to show the heart's rate and rhythm.
  • Chest X-ray
    An X-ray picture of your chest to evaluate your heart and lungs.
  • Multiple-gated acquisition scan (MUGA)
    A scan that takes a rapid sequence of pictures of your heart's motion to determine the amount of blood your heart's ventricles pump or eject.
  • Blood tests
    Tests to determine your blood type, and kidney and liver function.
  • Metabolic stress test (MV02)
    A modified exercise test that gives your health providers information about your heart functions during times of exercise. You will be closely monitored throughout the testing process.
  • Heart catheterization
    A test in which a dye is injected into a neck/leg vein through a small hollow tube. Pictures are taken to detect any blockage or abnormalities in the heart's blood vessels.

 Additional testing that may be required as part of your pre-transplant evaluation include:

  • Lab work - blood and urine
  • Left heart catheterization
  • Right heart catheterization
  • Heart biopsy as indicated
  • Echocardiogram
  • Metabolic stress test
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan of your chest
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Carotid doppler
  • Peripheral doppler
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Osteoporosis work-up (labs) and bone density as warranted
  • Dental evaluation
  • Tuberculosis (PPD) testing
  • Females - gynecological exam, mammogram
  • Ophthalmology exam
  • Nutrition assessment as warranted
  • Colonoscopy
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