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If you’ve ever visited your GP, you’ll be familiar with the ‘PEEP test’, a diagnostic procedure designed to screen for heart problems and evaluate the health of your heart.
PEEP tests are a common part of the regular healthcare of most Australians, but the procedure can be quite frightening.
What is PEEP?
PEEP is a screening test which looks for problems inside, or under the skin of the chest (belly button). While PEEP can detect heart problems, it is not a permanent cure.
PEEP tests have two steps — a physical examination and a heart palpation.
In the doctor’s appointment, the clinician needs to confirm that there are enough signs for the PEEP test to be carried out.
For example, if the PEEP test is unable to find heart problems, the doctor will have to consider whether there are any underlying cardiac conditions, or whether there is a lack of activity in the chest that could indicate the need for a heart biopsy.
The PEEP test involves applying a thin film called ‘nodules’ onto the chest to check the size and shape of the heart muscle, as well as checking for changes in the heart’s pumping power.
The blood vessels may also be examined in order to examine the shape and size of the heart valves, or to test for other heart diseases or injuries that could have affected the heart.
How does PEEP work?
PEEP works by exposing a fluid called ‘filtration fluid’ to a light to see if it looks healthy. This fluid can be fluid in water or a combination of this and oxygenated red blood cells.
If any changes are detected, or if there are problems with the fluid, there could be a problem with the heart.
Because PEEP works by exposing blood to the light and then sending an electrical signal into the heart muscle, there are some risks associated with this procedure.
What is the process involved?
The doctor needs to perform the procedure as quickly and thoroughly as possible. For example, the PEEP test should not be delayed more than two hours.
When can PEEP tests be carried out?
The PEEP test can be performed before you’ve started your medical treatment for heart problems. The doctor will also want to give you
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