Carolinas HealthCare System

Heart Center Diagnostic Services

Getting appropriate, timely care can mean the difference between surviving heart disease or not. CMC-Mercy provides a number of different diagnostic services to help you and your family rest assured in knowing that appropriate care is just a heartbeat away.

Stress Testing

Advanced diagnosis of heart disease can often prevent more serious events, such as a heart attack. Performed in the stress lab, these testing procedures often include an electrocardiogram (EKG), which monitors the electrical activity of the heart. During a stress test, specialists measure the changes in the heart during exercise.

Thallium Stress Testing (Nuclear Stress Testing)

When a more complete study of the patient's condition is necessary, we offer advanced forms of stress testing, including the thallium stress test. This test uses the same principles as the stress test, but includes the injection of a radioactive isotope called thallium into the bloodstream during peak exercise. Thallium enables a sophisticated scanner to produce pictures of the heart muscle. These images are then used in comparison with those taken when the patient is resting.


The Certified Echocardiography Lab offers advanced cardiac diagnosis through the use of a diagnostic ultrasound test. This test allows our cardiologists to look at the heart without using x-rays or surgery. Echocardiography is used to track blood flow through the heart. Color-coded images produced by ultrasound provide extremely detailed information about the function and condition of the valves and walls of the heart, revealing possible abnormalities undetectable using other techniques.

Cardiac Catheterization

Digital computers for cardiac imaging were first made available to Charlotte patients by CMC-Mercy. Physicians, supported by an experienced team of specially trained staff, now perform approximately 2,000 catheterizations each year in the Digital Cath Labs. The procedure uses a special fluid, visible by x-ray, to locate blockages in the arteries that serve the heart itself. This sophisticated equipment enables the physician to size, quantify and enhance portions of the catheterization film for more detailed study.

Electrophysiology Study

The electrophysiology study is a test that maps the electrical conduction system in the heart to identify the cause of symptoms related to heart rhythm disturbance, to assess abnormally slow or fast heart rates, or to assess the effectiveness of medications that are taken to regulate a disturbance in the heart rhythm. This test is performed by a specially trained cardiologist called an electrophysiologist.

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