Mercy Regional Health Center


The Heart Institute provides the specialists and modern technology required to detect, diagnose and treat heart disease. We have a state-of-the-art catheterization lab to view and treat coronary artery blockages, and a 64-slice CT scanner that provides access to advanced images of the heart and other organs.

Cardiology services at Mercy Regional include:


To read about some of our common tests, click the links below.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor

An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is used by your doctor to evaluate blood pressure for an extended period of time -- often 24 hours. This enables your doctor to see what your blood presure does over the span of a day rather than in one specific instance.

A blood pressure cuff will be attached to your arm and set to automatically take your blood pressure approximately every half hour or hour. During the monitoring period, please make sure:

  • The cuff is tight.
  • Not to shower or bathe.
  • To keep your arm straight during testing.
  • Not to move your arm during testing.

 At the end of the monitoring period, you will return to the hospital to have the monitor removed. The results will be reported to your physician.

Cardiac Event Monitor

The cardiac event monitor allows your physician to monitor heart-related "events" or symptoms such as heart palpitations or chest pain. Cardiac event monitoring can help diagnose heart rhythm abnormalities that occur sporadically.

The monitor's electrodes will be attached to your chest and will read and record your heart's activity over a specific period of time. Whenever you feel a symptom, you will press the "Record" button and write down the day and time, what symptoms you experience and what you were doing at the time. This way, the physician will be able to analyze the results in relation to your activity and environment.

Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) monitors your heart's electrical activity, including the regularity of your heartbeat. This test can help your doctor determine whether you have heart disease or other heart-related issues.

Electrodes will be attached to your arms, legs and chest. While you lie down, the ECG/EKG machine will record your heart's activity.Your physician will be sent the EKG and inform you of the results.

Cardiac Stress Test

A cardiac stress test is used to evaluate your heart's function at rest and during exercise.

Three blood pressure checks will be performed -- one while you are lying down, one while you are standing and one after you hyperventilate for 15 seconds. EKGs will be performed after each blood pressure check.

As you exercise on a treadmill, the doctor will monitor your EKG, heart rate and blood pressure. It is normal to experience some fatigue. Once you have reached the desired heart rate, the treadmill will be slowed down and you will continue to walk until the belt is stopped. Next, you'll lie on the table and continue blood pressure checks and EKGs to complete the study. Your physician will then discuss the results with you.

After you leave, you may resume your regular activities. If you have any problems during the day -- such as chest pain, leg pain or shortness of breath -- call your doctor immediately.


  • Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test.
  • Your physician will go over which medications, if any, you need to stop taking prior to your study. Do not stop taking medications unless directed by your physician.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Holter Monitor

A holter monitor is a machine that continuously evaluates the rhythms of your heart -- usually over a 24-hour period -- as you live your normal daily life.

The holter monitor, which is kept in a pouch around your neck, is attached to your chest using electrodes. For this reason, you are not allowed to shower or bathe during the monitoring period. As you wear the monitor, you will keep a diary of your activiites and any symptoms that occur. When you have completed the monitoring period, you will need to return the monitor to the hospital. The results will be reported to your physician.