Cardiac Screening Tests

What Cardiac Tests Will I have?

Find out more about Cardiac Tests

ECG (Electrocardiogram, Non-invasive)

This is the most basic test and it involves taping ‘stickers’ or electrodes to your legs, arms and chest (10 in total). Wires are attached to these stickers to take readings of the electrical activity of your heart. These are printed out onto a piece of paper for the doctor to examine. This is not painful at all.

Echo Cardiogram (also called ‘Echo’, Non invasive)

This test uses ultrasound waves to look at the structure of the heart. It is useful to look for evidence of heart muscle disorders such as heart disease, previous heart damage due to a heart attack, structural heart problems present from birth (congenital heart defects), damaged or leaky valves or holes in the heart, or any cause of a heart murmur.

Exercise Test (also called an Exercise ECG, Non invasive)

This test is the same as the ECG described earlier but it is recorded before, during and after a period of time spent exercising on a treadmill or an exercise bike. This allows the doctor to examine any changes in the electrical patterns that occur with exercise, and analyse any abnormalities.

Holter (Non invasive)

The holter is a recording device that continuously records your heart rhythm. Depending on the type, and how long you are being asked to wear it for, anything from 2 to 5 stickers (or electrodes) will be taped to your chest area, and connected to wires. The wires are connected to a digital recording device (about the size of a mobile phone), which you can carry in your pocket, wear on your belt, or carry in a pouch or bag around your neck or shoulder. It records the electrical activity of your heart for twenty four to forty eight hours or up to seven days, depending on whether you are having symptoms or not. The team will discuss with you on the day which is the most appropriate recorder in your case. The doctor can then analyse the electrical activity and the rhythm of your heart to find out if you have any arrhythmias. There are other more sophisticated tests that may arise depending upon the assessment.

Cardiac Screening FAQs

When will I get the results of my tests?

After your tests are completed you will see the doctor, all on the same day. The doctor will give you your results and will discuss any necessary treatment or further tests with you.

What if I develop worrying symptoms?

If you are worried, please contact a member of the team who will advise you and decide if it is necessary to bring your appointment forward or arrange further tests.

How can I get other family members screened?

We need a referral letter from your general practitioner (GP), or a local cardiologist. If necessary we can give you a letter explaining why, which you can give to family members.

How long will I be in the hospital?

You will be at the hospital for 2 to 3 hours on your first visit.

Are there specific types of clothes I should wear for the hospital tests?

Comfortable clothes and shoes should be worn as you may be required to do an Exercise Stress Test.

Do I need to fast?

If there is a history of coronary disease (hardening of the arteries) in your family then we suggest checking your cholesterol levels and blood sugar. In this case, it is better that you come fasting. We usually try to advise you of this in advance and arrange a morning appointment for you to minimise inconvenience.

How much will the visit cost me?

There is no charge for any of the services provided at the Centre.

How often do I need to be screened?

Often in adults, one detailed screening visit is all that is required. If the doctor is in any way unsure they may order additional tests or suggest repeating the screening in 1 to 5 years. For some conditions there is a small chance that it could develop in later life, so repeated screening every 1 to 5 years may be suggested even if the initial results are very normal. For children or adolescents under 18, repeated visits at perhaps yearly intervals are often required. Often very young children are not screened because most of these conditions are not present at birth but appear during puberty or in later years. Also young children cannot understand enough to co-operate when the tests are being performed so useful results may not be obtained.

Getting there?

The centre is about 400 metres walk from the front door of the hospital. Once in the hospital walk past the shop, reception and the main lifts and turn right into “Hospital Street” towards the canteen. About 20 metres past the canteen on the left hand side you will see a sign for CRYP. The Centre is located in a separate building a short walk from the main corridor.


All enquiries can be made at the CRYP Centre at Tallaght Hospital at 01-4143058 or email at [email protected].