Heart & Vascular Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Heart and vascular diseases are extremely common in the U.S. In fact, 11.3% of all American adults (26.6 million) were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Baptist Memorial Health Care is proud to be a leading health system in the Mid-South in terms of cardiovascular diagnostic services, helping thousands of people every year.

Our diagnostic services include a variety of tests and procedures designed to detect heart and vascular conditions so the proper treatment can be sought as soon as possible. Some of our heart and vascular diagnostic tests and procedures include:


One method to examine the health of the heart is Baptist's advanced procedure called HeartScore™. This cardiovascular test uses no needles, no fasting, and you don't have to run on a treadmill. This non-invasive test can find heart disease early, long before any symptoms appear. Recent research has shown a direct correlation between the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries and the likelihood of a future heart attack.

Cardiac Stress Test

A stress test is used to determine a patient's risk for heart disease. Stress tests are performed by physicians or technicians to determine the amount of stress that your heart can take before showing signs of damage such as an abnormal rhythm. There are several types of stress tests but the most commonly performed stress test is the exercise stress test.

The exercise stress test is also known as the exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test, or stress ECG. It is used to provide information about how the heart responds to exertion. This test is usually done on a treadmill. As you walk, your heart will be monitored for any changes or problems that would suggest your heart is not working optimally.

Heart Catheterization

Heart catheterization provides diagnostic services to check on the health of your heart and vascular system. Heart catheterization is completed by the careful insertion of a catheter into the blood vessels. Once the catheter is in place the specialist will inject X-ray dye into the arteries so that any heart blockages will be visible. During this procedure the heart chambers and valves pressure are evaluated.

Nuclear Stress Test

During this stress test a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into the patient. Physicians will use a special camera to identify the rays emitted from the radioactive tracer while it is within the body. By using this test, Baptist doctors can view clear pictures of the heart tissue on a monitor.

Regadenson (Lexiscan) Stress Test

For patients who are unable to perform the traditional exercise stress test physicians will use a drug to mimic the heart's response to exercise. This is performed in conjunction with nuclear cardiac perfusion imaging.

Stress Echocardiogram

A stress echocardiogram provides a graphic outline of the heart's movement. This test can accurately visualize the pumping action of the heart when it's stressed. This test could reveal a lack of blood flow that can't always be seen from other stress tests.

Additional Heart & Vascular Diagnostic Tests

In addition to the stress tests and HeartScore™ cardiovascular physicians use other tests including those listed below. These imaging tests are usually conducted in a radiology lab in one of Baptist's radiology departments or separate facilities.

  • Cardiac MRI
  • Coronary calcium scoring (HeartScore™)
  • CT angiogram of coronary arteries
  • Echocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Electrophysiology (heart rhythm management)
  • Intravascular ultrasound

If you or a loved one is interested in examining the health of your heart through a heart and vascular diagnostic test or procedure, find a location near you today.

Heart and Vascular

Learn more about Baptist cardiology services, risk factors for heart disease and more in the Heart and Vascular Frequently Asked Questions.

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