Common Heart Procedures :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Common Diagnostic Procedures

The moments surrounding your child's diagnosis can be a stressful and confusing time. At The Heart Center, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible every step of the way. Below are brief definitions of our most common diagnostic procedures with links to more detailed resources. If you have any questions about your child's diagnosis, always ask your care team.


An angiogram, also called an arteriogram, is a test that is done to study the size and shape of your child's blood vessels. A special dye is injected into a tube that is inserted into an artery (usually in the groin area) so the blood vessels can be seen on X-rays.
Learn more about angiograms »

Chest X-rays

An X-ray machine is a camera that takes pictures of the inside of the body. The camera does not touch or hurt your child, however, your child will have to remain as still as possible while the X-ray is being taken.
Learn more about X-rays »

CT Scan

A CT (Computed Tomography) Scan is a type of x-ray that takes pictures of your child's body. The CT machine does not hurt or touch your child. He or she must lie very still while the x-rays are being taken.
Learn more about CT scans »


An Echocardiogram, also called a "heart echo", bounces sound waves off the heart and the surrounding structures. By listening to those echoes, the machine generates pictures of the beating heart on its screen.
Learn more about echocardiograms »


ECMO stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. It is a type of life support that uses a machine to pump blood rich in oxygen to support the heart or lungs, or both.
Learn more about ECMO »

Electrocariogram (ECG or EKG)

An EKG, also called an ECG or electrocardiogram, is a simple and painless test that looks at the heart's electrical system and records the changes in the electrical activity of the heart. Stickers called electrodes are placed on your child's chest in order to perform this test.
Learn more about EKG »

Holter Monitor

A Holter monitor is a small device that is about the size of a deck of cards. It is used to get a 24-hour record of your child’s heart rate and rhythm. The monitor will show anything unusual about his or her heartbeat.
Learn about Holter monitors »

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a method of examining the inside of the body. The MRI machine is a large magnet that surrounds the body. It uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies instead of X-rays to produce images. Your child is not exposed to radiation during this exam.
Learn more about MRI »

Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a simple, non-invasive and painless test that is used to measure the percent of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in the arterial blood and the pulse rate.
Learn more about pulse oximetry »

Stress Test

A stress test, sometimes called an exercise test, helps your doctor find out how well your child's body works when they are active. This test measures how well your child's heart, lungs and muscles function during physical activity.
Learn more about stress tests »

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