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Heart Test Information

Abdominal Vascular Ultrasound

Hepatic and Portal vein doppler may be performed to detect patency of the vessel, portal hypertension or flow reversal. This information can be used to evaluate patients for possible TIPS shunt placement or reevaluate the shunts post procedure for possible stenosis or occlusion. Doppler of the IVC and Iliac veins can be used to look for clot or tumor invasion. Sonongraphy of the Aorta and Iliac arteries is used to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms. Doppler of the Mesentric vessels pre- and post-meal is useful in the detection of ischemic bowel disease. Renal artery and vein doppler can be performed to detect stenosis or tumor invasion, and examining the renal artery and vein is helpful in renal transplants to evaluate graft profusion and detect possible rejection.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a process in which catheters (small hollow tubes) or other devices are placed into the vascular system of the body to obtain angiograms (pictures), blood samples and pressure recordings to assess the function and disease state of the vessels and the heart.

Cardiac Event Recording

Some patients have episodic symptoms or rhythms which are difficult to capture and quantitate. Holter scanning works well for the majority of these patients. However, when the events are infrequent or the need to determine effects of medications on rhythms require a longer period of time, the cardiac event recorder may be ideal. The event recorder is worn like a Holter monitor; however, it records events only when the monitor is activated by the patient. The recorder has a maximum of five minutes of available recording. Typically, the recorder is programmed for five recordings lasting 45 seconds each (30 seconds prior to activation and 15 seconds post-activation). Any combination up to one event lasting five minutes can be accomplished, however. When the memory is full, the patient easily transmits their recordings over any telephone. Health professionals review the reports and use an established protocol to determine the follow-up.

Cardiac/Nuclear Stress Testing

Cardiac stress testing is a primary tool for physicians in detecting cardiac disease. Sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, the stress test will show how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if there's a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart. The test can also help determine the level of exercise that is right for you. Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center offers the ability to provide stress testing on-site at the hospital, as well as with the most advanced mobile equipment available.


Echocardiography, also called an echo test, is a test that takes "moving pictures" of the heart with sound waves. This test, which is done to examine the heart and how it is functioning, takes less than 15-20 minutes, and you can watch your heart's movements on a video screen during the test. This test may be needed if you have a heart murmur, you have had a heart attack, you have unexplained chest pains, you have had rheumatic fever or if you have a congenital heart defect.

Avera McKennan offers the only echocardiography lab in the region accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories. We provide adult and pediatric echocardiography, using the latest software and hardware to provide the finest testing possible. Echocardiography tests area interpreted by a cardiologist. Pediatric echoes are read by a pediatric cardiologist. Stress Echocardiography is an alternative to nuclear image stress testing. Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center also offers Transesophageal Echos for patients.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) Services

An Electrocardiogram (ECG) is an essential test for the diagnosis of cardiac disease. We can support medical staff with a computer-generated interpretation or a cardiologist over-read. The cardiac management system stores the ECG and will provide a serial comparison with subsequent ECG. Because a second opinion can be reassuring, we offer ECG interpretations by cardiologists who review the records. Up-to-date technology in carts and receiving system allows for fast, high-quality and reliable transmissions.


Along with the circulatory system, the heart also has an electrical system. This electrical system can become short circuited. When this happens, the heart can develop an abnormal rhythm (arrhythmias). Electrophysiology studies are used to determine the origin of these arrhythmias. Cardiac mapping is a test that maps the electrical system of your heart and tells the doctor what part of the heart isn't working properly. Cardiac ablation is a longer process but can fix an arrhythmia to get the heart beating the proper way.

Holter Monitoring

Avera McKennan has offered Holter Monitoring for nearly 30 years, and we continue to keep pace with evolving technology. Our skilled technologists, along with well-maintained equipment, create extremely accurate reports which physicians have come to expect from this service. We offer patients the ability to use micro-cassette recorders which are lightweight, small and comfortable.

Mobile Outreach Cardiovascular Diagnostic Service

Avera McKennan’s Mobile Outreach Cardiovascular Diagnostic Service offers you state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology in your community, keeping quality healthcare close to home for your patients. Services include:

  • Cardiac Ultrasound
  • Peripheral Vascular Testing
  • Cardiac/Nuclear Stress Testing
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Prevention and Wellness Service

For more information about Outreach Services, please call 605-322-6511.

Peripheral Vascular Ultrasound

Carotid and vertebral testing provides detection of disease and degree of disease in the extracranial vascular system. Venous ultrasound exams of the upper and lower extremities offer patients a painless answer to the question of deep venous thrombosis. We also provide peripheral arterial ultrasound for the detection and degree of disease in the extremities for patients with symptoms such as claudication, ulcers, numbness or cool extremity.