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Don Knabe Wellness Center
Don Knabe Wellness Center Plaza
My Wellness

Diagnostic Lab

The Diagnostic Lab at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center performs non-invasive testing for outpatient and inpatients, utilizing the latest technology to diagnose cardiac disease.

Non-Invasive procedures performed:

Transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) - A transducer (a small device that produces harmless sound waves) is placed on one's chest, and the sound waves bounce (echo) off the heart, creating images of the heart in motion as it pumps blood through the valves and chambers, on a video screen. These images help an individual's doctor identify and treat problems such as infection, disease, or defects in the heart's walls or valves. No preparation is required for the test. The test takes approximately 45 minutes.

Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) - The images produced are similar to that of Transthoracic Echocardiography, with the exception that the recorded images of the heart are taken from inside the esophagus (or food pipe). Since the esophagus lies just behind the heart, TEE may produce clearer pictures of the heart's movement than would standard (Transthoracic) echocardiography taken from outside the chest. Again, these images help a person's doctor identify and treat problems like infection, disease, or defects in the heart's walls or valves. Preparation: Since the cardiologist places the transducer in the esophagus, the person being tested must fast (meaning no food, water, or other liquids) for 6 hours before the test. The person is given a mild sedative (causes sleepiness) during the test; therefore that person will need someone to drive him/her home after the test.

The test takes approximately 45 minutes

Stress Echocardiography - A transducer is placed on one's chest and images are obtained (as with TTE) both before and immediately following exercise. The doctor compares the two images to detect any changes in the way the heart responds when exerted.

For the stress test, blood pressure is monitored and the nurse will apply electrodes to the individual's chest to monitor his/her electrocardiogram (EKG) before, during, and after exercise. The person being tested will be asked to walk on a treadmill or pedal a bike with his/her legs or arms until the heart is beating rapidly. If the person being tested has a medical condition that prevents him/her from exercising, the heart rate may be increased by using an intravenous (given through the vein) medication (such as Dobutamine). The doctor will then compare the person's EKG before, during, and after exercise, with the echo images obtained.

No preparation is required for the test unless the use of Dobutamine is expected. If so, then the person must fast (no food, water, or other liquids) for 4 hours before the test. The test takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

Stress Test (Exercise Tolerance Test) (ETT) - A test to see how the electrocardiogram (EKG) responds when exerted. Blood pressure will be monitored and the nurse will apply electrodes to the person's chest to monitor electrocardiogram (EKG) before, during, and after exercise. The person is asked to walk on a treadmill until the heart is beating rapidly. The individual's doctor will then compare the EKG before, during, and after exercise for any changes. No preparation is required. The test takes approximately 30 minutes.

Tilt Table Test - A test to see how one's body responds to changes in position for those who have had recurrent syncope (fainting spells). During the test, the person lays on his/her back on a table that can be moved to a nearly upright position while any symptoms, heart rate, and blood pressure are continuously monitored for changes. Preparation - the person being tested will need to fast (no food, water, or other liquids) for 6 hours before the test. The test takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

Holter Monitoring (24 Hours Avionics) - A continuous recording of an individual's heart rhythm, usually for 24 hours, as the person goes about his/her daily activities. This is used to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms that may come and go during the day. No preparation required.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) - A recording of the heart's electrical activity recorded on a moving paper. No preparation required.

To schedule an appointment, please contact:

John Greenwood, PT, MSPT, in the Diagnostic Lab
(562) 385-7212