ERP is often unintentionally diagnosed when the patient is receiving an EKG for another reason. If an abnormal pattern is seen on the EKG, the physician will generally conduct a physical exam and record the patient's medical history. During the physical exam, the physician will listen to the patient’s heart to detect if there is an abnormal heart rate. Patients are also asked for a detailed description of any symptoms that may be present, as those symptoms may indicate a different heart condition.
In order to rule out other conditions, the physician may order tests to examine the heart muscle, the blood flow through the heart, and any potential leaking within the heart valves. If the abnormal heart rhythm is intermittent, the patient may need to wear a Holter monitor. This portable device allows the medical team to observe the patient’s heart activity over a longer period of time, and it helps diagnose the condition if the abnormal rhythm happens while the patient is not at the hospital.
Depending on the results of the other diagnostic tests, an echocardiogram may be prescribed. This noninvasive procedure uses a machine called a transducer that bounces sound waves off the heart (echo) and back into the transducer. These echoes are then translated into visual images. If the echocardiogram is inconclusive, imaging tests such as a cardiac MRI or chest X-ray may be used to see if the heart is enlarged.
Other diagnostic tests may include electrophysiology studies to look at the electrical system of the heart.