Testing & Diagnostics

Northeast Georgia residents can receive state-of-the-art diagnosis of heart and vascular disease at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC).

Types of Diagnostic Testing

Procedures are performed Monday through Friday for inpatients and outpatients. Staff is available on-call for night, weekend and other emergency exams.

Our diagnostic tests and scans for heart and vascular disease:

Blood pressure monitor

A type of testing which records a patient’s blood pressure for a 24-hour period.

Cardiac Calcium Scoring

Cardiac Calcium Scoring detects and measures the amount of calcium-containing plaque build-up in a person’s arteries. When plaque grows and blocks blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack. Knowing the amount of plaque build-up in arteries may help physicians identify heart disease before symptoms appear.

Cardiac MRI

Northeast Georgia Medical Center offers cardiac MRI services at The Imaging Center Gainesville. These additional services were made available through an upgrade of NGMC’s current MRI machine, and NGMC is the first in the region to offer this technology. A non-invasive way for physicians to look closely at the structure and function of the heart as well as major vessels quickly and thoroughly, cardiovascular MRI is cutting-edge technology in the diagnosis and management of heart and vascular disease.

Cardiac Stress MRI

NGMC Braselton was the first hopsital in the region to offer cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. Stress tests provide doctors with information about how well the heart performs under stress, and the images are used in the diagnosis and management of coronary artery disease. The cardiac stress MRI first creates detailed images of the heart and its surrounding blood vessels while the patient is at rest. Then, the patient receives medication to increase blood flow, and a second round of images is taken so physicians can see whether the heart is healthy or if there are areas of the heart that are damaged.


Procedure performed when the heart is in an irregular rhythm (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter). Cardioversion involves delivering a prescribed amount of electrical current through the chest wall to “shock” the heart back into a regular rhythm. Sedation is given for the comfort of the patient during this procedure.

Carotid Duplex Scan

Procedure which uses ultrasound to evaluate the carotid arteries in the neck that carry blood to the brain, the carotid arteries. It determines the presence or absence of plaque buildup (blockages) in the arteries.


This procedure involves obtaining ultrasound photos of the heart through the chest wall. Heart wall movement can be evaluated as well as the heart valves.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

Procedure which picks up the electrical impulses sent out by the patient’s heart and is used to help determine rhythm abnormalities or injury that might have occurred to the heart.

Event monitor

A type of testing which allows a patient to record his or her heart rhythm when having symptoms. The patient keeps the monitor for a two-week period and will send rhythm strips across telephone lines to a computer monitoring system for analysis.

Exercise Tolerance Test

Procedure which involves walking on a treadmill while blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram are being monitored. Test is completed when a target heart rate is achieved.

Holter monitor

Procedure which monitors a patient’s heart rhythm for a 24 to 48 hour period and is used to determine rhythm abnormalities.

Non-Invasive Heart and Vascular Imaging

Heart and vascular practitioners perform advanced non-invasive cardiac and vascular ultrasound imaging, cardiac MRI, nuclear SPECT and cardiac PET. Our cardiologists have additional board certifications and some of the highest levels of cardiac imaging qualifications.

Learn more about Non-Invasive Imaging

Learn more about Nuclear Imaging

Nuclear Stress Test

The Nuclear Stress Test involves injecting two isotopes into a vein and then scanning the heart under the nuclear camera. The first isotope is injected and resting photos are obtained. Then the heart rate is increased by walking on the treadmill or with medication (Dobutatmine or Persantine). At peak heart rates, the second isotope is injected. After the required time frame, the second scan of the heart is obtained.

Pulse Volume Recording (PVR)

Procedure performed to evaluate the blood flow in the arteries that carry blood to the legs and arms. It is a non-invasive indirect test meaning that ultrasound is not used. During the test, blood pressure cuffs are wrapped around both legs at the ankle, calf, lower thigh and upper thigh and in both arms. The blood pressure is taken at different levels in the legs and compared to the arm pressure to determine the presence or absence of disease in the arteries.

Renal Artery/Aorta Duplex Scan

Another ultrasound procedure which evaluate some of the arteries in the abdomen to determine the presence or absence of disease in the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys. The arteries are evaluated from just below the breastbone to the bellybutton area. Blood flow to each kidney is also assessed.

Stress Echocardiogram

Procedure which involves walking on a treadmill while blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram are being monitored. In addition, an ultrasound picture of the heart is obtained at rest and peak exercise. If a patient is unable to walk on a treadmill, a medication (Dobutamine) can be given to increase heart rate, simulating exercise.

Tilt Table Study

For individuals experiencing sycope (fainting spells), the tilt table is used to diagnose a specific kind of syncope (vasovagal). It involves being placed on a special table that tilts in different positions in an attempt to induce the syncope while the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure are constantly monitored.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

When ultrasound photos through the chest wall are not clear, a transesophageal echocardiogram may be ordered. This procedure involves inserting a probe with a camera on the end down the esophagus, allowing for a clear and close-up photo of the heart. Sedation is given for the comfort of the patient during this procedure.

Venous Duplex Scan

An ultrasound procedure which evaluates the veins in the body, specifically in the legs and arms /neck. The purpose of the procedure is to determine the presence or absence of blood clots in the veins.

Services in Gainesville

At NGMC Gainesville, cardiac testing is performed in the W. D. Stribling Heart Clinic, located on the 3rd floor of the Outpatient Services building, and cardiac catheterization labs. The Stribling Heart Clinic houses a complete range of diagnostic cardiac and vascular services—including vascular lab, cardiology lab with EKG, echo and stress testing and nuclear medicine—in one central location resulting in easy accessibility for both patients and physicians. The Stribling Heart Clinic is connected by a bridge to the third floor of the inpatient cardiac floor and the Ronnie Green Heart Center Recovery wing allowing convenient access for patients and staff.

Services in Braselton

At NGMC Braselton, a full range of non-invasive diagnostic cardiac and vascular testing is available, including echo and vascular ultrasound, stress testing, cardiac nuclear testing and EKG. Cardiac MRI, and cardiac stress MRI tests are also available at NGMC Braselton, and physicians in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization labs provide diagnostic heart catheterizations. 

Services in Barrow

At NGMC Barrow, patients can receive a range of nuclear and non-nuclear stress and echocardiogram testing, as well as heart health screenings and variety of tests to diagnose heart attacks. 

Connect with us today!

Are ready to talk with a member of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Services department? Here are three ways you can get started:


Connect with us using our short online form.


Call 770-219-5416 to speak with a member of our care team.


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