Diagnostic Testing and Procedures

At MaineGeneral, you have access to non-invasive inpatient and outpatient diagnostic testing of heart functions under the supervision of a cardiologist.

Services Available

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): 10 stickers are connected to EKG wires that measure the electrical activity moving through your heart. EKGs find problems in your heart's rhythm, size, function and blood flow.
  • Holter and Event Cardiac Monitoring: 3-5 stickers are connected to EKG wires that connect to a cell phone-sized device. You wear the monitor for up to 30 days, depending on your needs, while the monitor analyzes your EKG.
  • Stress Testing: You exercise on a treadmill, starting at a walk, for 5-10 minutes while your EKG is recorded.
  • Nuclear Stress Testing: A special imaging agent is used to see how your blood flows to your heart before and after a stress test. The stress test can be done on the treadmill or with a medication that simulates exercise for the heart.
  • Echocardiography: This exam is an ultrasound of your heart, helping the doctor see the structure and function of your heart muscles and valves.
  • Stress Echocardiography: We take an ultrasound of your heart before and after a stress test. The stress test can be done on the treadmill or with a medication that simulates exercise for your heart.
  • Transesophageal Echocardiography: This exam is done under sedation, using a thin tube that goes down your throat and uses ultrasound to get detailed images of your heart.

Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Heart catheterization is available at the Alfond Center for Health, a convenient location for you to receive advanced cardiac care close to home. You can be scheduled quickly.

What is cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic study that allows the cardiologist to accurately assess blood flow through the arteries that supply your heart muscle, in real time. It allows the physician to see if there are blockages in these critical vessels, which can lead to heart attacks.

What are the benefits?

The results from the procedure help doctors guide patients through potential options of therapy, including risk factor modification, medical therapy, angioplasty, stents and sometimes bypass surgery.

What should I expect before the procedure?

Our staff will call you the day before your scheduled procedure to answer your questions. If you have concerns or questions, please call (207) 430-4321.

Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your procedure. You can take regularly scheduled medications, unless told otherwise, and bring a list of current medications to the hospital when you arrive for the procedure.

You must arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

About an hour before the procedure, you may be given a mild sedative which allows you to remain awake but relaxed during the procedure. You will be moved onto the X-ray table where EKG electrodes and other equipment will be attached.

Depending on the access site for the catheterization - groin or arm - the site will be cleaned with antiseptic solution and covered with sterile drapes before the doctor injects numbing medication.

How is the procedure done?

After the medication takes effect, the doctor makes a small puncture to insert the catheter into a blood vessel in either your groin or arm.

The catheter is guided into the heart vessel, where dye is then injected into your coronary arteries. X-ray pictures are taken to help the physician make a diagnosis.

Dye also can be injected into your heart's pumping chamber to evaluate how well your heart is pumping and how well the valves are working.

You may feel some warmth or flushing after the dye injections - this is normal. You will be in the cath lab for about one hour.

Please let your doctor know if you have chest pain, dizziness, numbness, tingling or shortness of breath during the procedure.

What should I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, you will be moved back to the room. The catheter will be removed and firm pressure will be applied to the area for 20 minutes.

If the radial (arm) site was used for the procedure, a compression device will be in place from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on your medications.

If you experience faintness, dizziness, cold hands or feet, please let the staff know.

If you had catheterization via the groin, you must lie flat in bed for four hours following your procedure to allow the puncture site to heal properly.

If you have it via the radial (arm) site, you can get out of bed as soon as the sedatives wear off. Recovery typically takes two to three hours.

During this time, your nurse will check the site frequently for bleeding, as well as monitor your pulse and blood pressure.

We will give you something to eat and drink as soon as possible after your procedure.

Contact Us

Cardiology: (207) 626-1196
Cardiac Rehabilitation: (207) 626-1529
MaineHealth Cardiology: (207) 430-4321

Cardiology: (207) 872-1280
Cardiac Rehabilitation: (207) 872-1353
MaineHealth Cardiology: (207) 872-1800