Where to Find More Information

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute website can provide you with information concerning all aspects of heart disease.

Diagnostic Tests

Test Brief Description

This test uses ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) to look at your heart and how the different parts of your heart are working—for example, the different chambers, or your heart valves.


An echocardiogram is performed by placing a hand-held ultrasound wand on your chest. By positioning the wand, the sonographer can evaluate the functioning of your heart.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

This is a specialized type of echocardiogram test. It uses a special thin, flexible tube that is inserted down through your throat through to your stomach.


The reason for having a TEE is that your doctor is able to get a very good look at your heart without interference from your ribs and lungs.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to detect and treat some types of heart problems. A thin flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery and/or vein located in the groin area (or the arm) and guided to the heart. Cardiac catheterization is used to:


  • Evaluate or confirm the presence of coronary artery disease, valve disease or disease of the aorta
  • Determine the need for further treatment (such as an interventional procedure or coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG, surgery)
ECG (Electrocardiogram)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your heart.

Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray lets doctors take pictures of the structures inside your chest, including your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and bones. X-ray pictures of the chest can show how large your heart is and whether there is too much fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema) caused by heart failure.

CT Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is a type of X-ray test that lets doctors take three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of your heart and blood vessels. The CT scanner combines the specialized X-rays with a high-powered computer that reconstructs the information into 3-D views.