Emory Decatur Hospital

Community and Wellness

Pre-procedure COVID testing is currently required 48-72 hours prior to procedures.

Cardiac Catheterization

Emory Decatur Hospital offers cardiac catheterization procedures which allow physicians to get information about the heart or its blood vessels, to provide treatment in certain types of heart conditions or to determine whether you need to have heart surgery. Cardiac catheterization procedures involve passing a thin flexible tube (cardiac catheter) into the right or left side of the heart, usually from the groin or the arm.

Your doctor may perform cardiac catheterization procedures to:

  • Diagnose or evaluate coronary artery disease
  • Diagnose or evaluate congenital heart defects
  • Diagnose or evaluate problems with the heart valves
  • Diagnose causes of heart failure or cardiomyopathy heart disease

Your physician also can use cardiac catheterization procedures to determine certain types of heart defects, valvular disease or blockages in the coronary arteries or grafts in the heart.

Preparing for Your Cardiac Catheterization

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your cardiac catheterization. Be sure to ask your physician about any medications you are taking or any questions your might have about your procedure.

You will usually get a mild sedative before the test to help you relax. The test may last 30 minutes to one hour.

You may feel some discomfort at the site where the catheter is placed. Local anesthesia will be used to numb the site, so the only sensation should be one of pressure at the site. You may experience some discomfort from having to remain still for a long time. Once the catheter is in the correct position, the radiologist will inject the anti-cancer drugs and embolic agents. More images will be taken to verify the tumor has been treated. Once the procedure is complete, the catheter is removed and a dressing is placed over the incision. The procedure usually takes 90 minutes.

After Your Cardiac Catheterization

After your test, the catheter is removed. You might feel a firm pressure, used to prevent bleeding at the insertion site. If the catheter is placed in your groin, you will usually be asked to lie flat on your back for a few hours after the test to avoid bleeding.

Your nurse will give you any after-care instructions including any restrictions on activities.

Use these preparation and care instructions as a guide. A detailed report will be sent to your physician, who will share the results with you.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact us to schedule your cardiac catheterization for you. You will check-in at the hospital’s Central Registration area.


Emory Decatur Hospital offers an echocardiogram procedure which is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. The picture is much more detailed than a regular X-ray image and involves no radiation exposure. An echocardiogram procedure allows the doctor to see your heart beating and to see many of the structures of the heart.

One of our newest technologies is our echocardiography computer system that provides faster turnaround time for echocardiograms and, ultimately, patient diagnosis. An echocardiogram procedure is a noninvasive way to evaluate the valves and chambers of the heart. The echocardiogram allows doctors to diagnose, evaluate and monitor:

  • Heart murmurs
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • The pumping function of the heart for people with heart failure
  • Damage to the heart muscle in patients who have had heart attacks
  • Infection in the sac around the heart, known as pericarditis
  • Infection on or around the heart valves infectious endocarditis
  • The source of a blood clot or emboli after a stroke or TIA
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Pulmonary hypertension

Your doctor may request an echocardiogram procedure to see whether your heart muscle is getting enough blood flow and, therefore, enough oxygen when it is working hard (under stress). The purpose is to discover and potentially treat any blockage or disease before serious or life-threatening problems develop.

Your doctor may request an echocardiogram procedure if you:

  • Have new symptoms of angina or chest pain
  • Have angina that is becoming worse
  • Have recently had a heart attack
  • Are at high risk for heart disease (before having surgery or when beginning an exercise program)
  • Have heart valve problems

Preparing for Your Echocardiogram

There are no special preparations for your echocardiogram procedure. Be sure to ask your physician about any medications you are taking.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact us to schedule your echocardiogram for you. You will check-in at the hospital’s Central Registration area.

Electrocardiogram (EKG) Stress Test

Emory Decatur Hospital offers electrocardiogram (EKG) stress tests, a painless test to record the electrical activity and changes in your heart under “stress.” This test is done while you are exercising. Your doctor may order this test if you have chest pain or palpitations.

An EKG test is used to measure:

  • Any damage to the heart
  • How fast your heart is beating and whether it is beating normally
  • The effects of drugs or devices used to control the heart (such as a pacemaker)
  • The size and position of your heart chambers

Another type of EKG test is done with a Holter monitor, a machine that continuously records the heart's rhythms. The monitor is usually worn for 24 to 48 hours during normal activity.

Preparing for Your EKG Test at Emory Decatur Hospital

There are no special preparations for your electrocardiogram. Be sure to ask your physician about any medications you are taking.
Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact us to schedule your EKG for you. You will check-in at the hospital’s Central Registration area.

Nuclear Stress Test

Emory Decatur Hospital performs a nuclear stress test to measure blood flow to your heart muscle at rest and during stress. A nuclear medicine test is similar to a routine exercise stress test but provides images in addition to electrocardiograms, allowing doctors to see pictures of your heart at rest and shortly after you have exercised. The nuclear stress test usually includes a heart scan, injection of the radioactive material into your bloodstream while you are exercising and another scan one to two hours after exercise.

During a nuclear stress test, the radioactive substance mixes with your blood and travels to your heart. A special scanner — which detects the radioactive material in your heart — creates images of your heart muscle. The diagnostic images from your nuclear stress test will show inadequate blood flow to any part of your heart.

A nuclear stress test can give information about the size of the heart's chambers, how well the heart is pumping blood and whether the heart has any damaged or dead muscle. The test also can give doctors information about your arteries and whether they might be narrowed or blocked because of coronary artery disease.

A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician. Your primary care or referring physician will share the results of your nuclear stress with you.

Preparing for Your Nuclear Stress Test

You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your nuclear stress test procedure. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes with non-skid soles.

You should avoid caffeinated beverages, foods and medicines that contain caffeine (some pain relievers) for 24 hours before your test. If you are taking any medications, discuss those with your doctor before you have your nuclear stress test.

During Your Nuclear Stress Test Procedure

Just like an exercise stress test, you will have 10 electrodes placed on your chest . The electrodes are attached to wires called leads, which are attached to an electrocardiogram machine. You will walk on a treadmill or have a pharmacologic stress test.

Just before the end of your exercise, you will be given an injection of a small amount of radioactive substance. Then, diagnostic images will be taken of your heart to show how it functions during exercise. You’ll be asked to rest for several hours and then return to the testing area so that additional images can be taken of your heart at stress.

Some people feel fatigue, muscle cramps in the legs or feet, shortness of breath, or chest pain during and/or after their nuclear stress test. Tell the technologist if you experience any of these symptoms.

After Your Nuclear Stress Test Procedure

There are no side effects from the radioactive material that is in your body, and it is safe to be around other people.

As soon as the images have been reviewed by the technologist for quality, you can leave and resume your normal activities and diet as directed by your physician. The radiologist or cardiologist who interprets your nuclear medicine procedure will advise your physician as to the finding of the test. Your physician will follow up with you about the results of your nuclear medicine procedure.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact us to schedule your nuclear stress test procedure for you. If your physician has placed the medical orders for your specific procedure, you can call 404-501-2662 to schedule your procedure at your convenience.