Complementary Techniques


Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG [from the German Elektrokardiogramm]) is an interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart detected by electrodes attached to the outer surface of the skin and recorded by an electrocardiograph. It is the major instrument in cardiac electrophysiology and it has a leading role in cardiovascular diseases diagnosis, metabolic alterations and sudden cardiac death predisposition. It is also useful to know the cardiac cycle length.

The electrocardiography has the advantage of being an economic and non invasive procedure with immediate results.


Spirometry includes some easy breath tests, undertaken under controlled circumstances, used to measure the absolute magnitude of both lung volume and lung capacity as well as the forced inspiratory flow and peak expiratory flow. Results are given in both raw data (litres, litres per second) and percent predicted - the test result as a percent of the "predicted values" for the patients of similar characteristics (height, age, sex, and sometimes race and weight).


Co-oximetry is a clinical test used to detect the hemoglobinís inhability to use oxygen supply. It estimates the carbon monoxide (CO) contained in the forced expiratory flow. A CO-oximeter is a precise monitor used to measure the concetration of CO in ppm (parts per million).

Carbon monoxide has a 240 times higher attraction to hemoglobin than oxygen, which is easily moved causing carboxyhemoglobin. The result being a hypoxemia, a decreased partial pressure of oxygen in blood. The amount of carbon monoxide in the air during inhalation in relation to the carboxihemoglobin levels in blood shows the patientís deficency to use oxygen supply.

Co-oximetry is used to check the patientís observance quitting smoking.

Fundus of the eye examination

Retina is examined, paying special attention to the blood vessels, the beginning of the optic nerve and those alterations that can be found within the retina (pigmentations, exudates, hemorrhages). It is done with an ophthalmoscope, which is an instrument fitted with a light and a set of lenses with varied dioptres that focus on the retina.

The examination is done in a dark room and it is very useful to diagnose vascular diseases (vascular hypertension), metabolic diseases (diabetes), immunological diseases, neurological diseases, etc.


A sigmoidoscope is an instrument used for a visual examination of the rectum, to check any fissure, hemorrhoids, and to observe any alteration of the intestine mucus, any ulcer or tumor, etc, inside the last section of the large intestine (rectum and sigmoid colon).

General aspects of the test

Anoscopy, proctoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are tests used to evaluate the lining of of the anal canal, the rectum, and the distal sigmoid colon. They are used to detect abnormal growths (i.e. tumours or polyps), inflammation, bleeding, hemorrhoids and other conditions (i.e. diverticulosis).

These tests use different endoscopes to examine varied sections within the colon:


A duplex ultrasound is an easy an fast option to show how blood flows to many parts of the body. It can also tell the width of a blood vessel and reveal any blockages.