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Understanding and Managing Chronic Heart Failure

• Exercise stress test: In this test, you may be attached to an ECG machine while you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. By measuring how your heart responds to increased physical exertion, your doctor can get a clearer sense of whether you have coronary artery disease. • Blood tests: A blood test can help PLAY VIDEO Cardiac Catheterization Cardiac Catheterization video diagnose chronic heart failure by ruling out other conditions that can affect the heart. It can be used to check thyroid and kidney function, for example. • Cardiac catheterization: Usually performed in a hospital or clinic’s cath lab, a cardiac catheterization uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter that is inserted into your groin or arm. The catheter is then guided through your aorta into your coronary arteries. A dye is injected through the catheter, which makes your coronary arteries visible on an x-ray. This test helps a doctor see if there are blockages in the coronary arteries that may be contributing to chronic heart failure. It can also show how well the heart valves are functioning and how well the heart is pumping blood. • Radionuclide ventriculography or nuclear scan: These more advanced tests use a small amount of radioactive dye that is injected into a vein. Once the dye is circulating, the technician can take pictures of the heart as it pumps blood. These tests help your doctor see how well the heart is pumping blood. • Ejection fraction (EF): To measure how much blood the heart is pumping into the aorta, your doctor may determine your ejection fraction (EF). An EF greater than 50 percent is considered normal. There are a number of ways to get an EF measurement, including some of the tests listed here. • BNP or N-proBNP blood tests: Used in emergency QUIZ 2 YouÕre making great progress! Take a short quiz on what youÕve learned so far. situations, these blood tests can determine very quickly if chronic heart failure is a problem. They screen for a special chemical that the heart releases in cases of chronic heart failure. 9


Understanding and Managing Chronic Heart Failure
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