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Amniocentesis (am-nee-o-sen-TEE-sis) is a pre-natal outpatient test used to determine the possible presence of birth defects, or to evaluate fetal maturity.
A biopsy (BY-op-see) is a procedure in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the body, so it may be screened for cancer or other diseases. Biopsies may be performed in several different ways.
Cardiac catheterization
A catheter (CATH-uh-ter) is a thin, hollow tube that's inserted in the body, so it can deliver or carry away some substance. In cardiac catheterization (cath-uh-ter-eye-ZAY-shun), the tube is inserted through a blood vessel in the groin, and guided by x-ray to the heart.
Cholesterol testing
It's known that high levels of blood cholesterol increase the risk of developing blocked arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Because of this, physicians routinely perform cholesterol tests, usually by drawing a sample of blood.
A colonoscopy (koe-lun-OSS-kuh-pee) is a test that uses a long, flexible instrument to examine the inside of the rectum and colon. This hollow device has a sensor at the end that relays images to a viewing screen.
Electrocardiogram (EKG)
An electrocardiogram (eh-lec-troe-CAR-dee-oh-gram,) or EKG, (E-K-G) measures changes in the heart's electrical activity. The test itself is painless and takes only a few minutes.
HIV testing
HIV (H-I-V) antibody testing is often incorrectly referred to as the 'AIDS' test. This name is misleading because testing positive for HIV does not mean you have AIDS.
A laparoscopy (lap-uh-ROSS-coe-pee) is a surgical procedure in which a small instrument is inserted through an incision in the navel. This instrument, called a laparoscope (LAP-uh-roe-scope), functions like a miniature telescope, with a light on the end, giving doctors an internal view of the abdominal cavity.
Mammography (mam-MAW-gruh-fee) is a special x-ray procedure used to detect breast cancer. The breast is lifted onto a shelf-like plate, then another plate is lowered to compress the tissue, so it can be photographed clearly.
Pregnancy tests
There are two major types of pregnancy tests: those that use a urine sample, and those that require a blood sample. Urine pregnancy tests may be taken at a doctor's office, or home versions can be purchased at most drugstores.
Ultrasound is a technique that uses ultrasonic pressure waves at a very high frequency to view internal organs. Ultrasound is used to examine organs or structures that won't show up on X-rays.
X-ray imaging is used to view internal structures and organs. It's frequently used to examine bones, teeth, or breasts, or to diagnose tumors. A standard X-ray is produced by placing a particular part of the body before a sheet of film, then exposing that area to radiation from an X-ray tube.
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