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Cardiac Testing & Diagnosis
The right diagnosis is critical to determining the right course of treatment. Offering stress testing, cardiac and vascular ultrasounds, and advanced digital imaging, our Diagnosis Center ensures consistently accurate results for making informed decisions about heart and vascular issues.
In addition to cardiac testing and diagnosis, we offer the HeartAssess program, which allows patients with chronic heart failure to manage their condition at home.
Common Cardiac and Vascular Tests We Offer
An ECG, often referred to as an EKG, is a useful screening tool for a variety of cardiac abnormalities. Ten electrodes (or leads) are attached to your arms, legs, and chest. These electrodes detect the electrical impulses generated by your heart and transmit them to the ECG machine. The ECG machine then produces a graph or tracing of your cardiac electrical impulses. This tracing generates information about:
- Heart rate/rhythm
- “Conduction abnormalities” (abnormalities in how the electrical impulse spreads across the heart)
- Whether there has been a prior heart attack
- Whether there may be coronary artery disease
- Whether the heart muscle has become abnormally thickened
Ambulatory monitoring (when you are moving around) looks for signs of transient cardiac problems or problems that come and go. They record a patient's ECG for a prolonged period of time, on an outpatient basis. Ambulatory monitoring is particularly useful in diagnosing transient heart arrhythmias and transient cardiac ischemia.
Electrode leads are applied to the skin (similar to the leads used in recording a standard ECG) and attached to a tape recorder. The patient is sent home and resumes normal activities while the tape recorder records a continuous ECG tracing for 24 or 48 hours. The Holter equipment is then removed, and the tape is analyzed.
Instead of recording every heartbeat on a tape, event recorders use a circular tape that stores approximately 30 seconds of a patient's heart rhythm. When the patient experiences the symptom of interest he/she presses a button that freezes the recording. This is then transmitted by telephone to us for specialist interpretation.
In this simple test, a transducer (a device that resembles a computer mouse) is placed against your chest and slowly slid back and forth. This sends sound waves toward the heart. Like a submarine’s sonar, the sound waves bounce off the heart. These waves are then collected and processed by a computer to generate a graphic image of the beating heart, which is displayed, and interpreted on a screen.
A test that is given while a patient walks on a treadmill or pedals a stationary bike to monitor the heart during exercise. Breathing and blood pressure rates are also monitored. A stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease, and/or to determine safe levels of exercise following a heart attack or heart surgery.
In this test catheters (hollow tubes) are placed into the heart to evaluate the anatomy and function of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. Because these tests provide so much useful information they are performed in virtually all patients being considered for bypass surgery or angioplasty and stenting.
Used to see structures inside the body, while evaluating blood flow at the same time, Doppler ultrasound can determine if there are any problems within the veins and arteries.
A type of vascular ultrasound procedure done to assess blood flow and the structure of the leg veins. The term "duplex" refers to the fact that two modes of ultrasound are used—Doppler and B-mode. The B-mode transducer (like a microphone) obtains an image of the vessel being studied. The Doppler probe within the transducer evaluates the velocity and direction of blood flow in the vessel.
Used to see the vascular system and its function, including detection of blood clots.
Uses X-rays and intravenous (IV) contrast dye to visualize the veins. Contrast dye causes the blood vessels to appear opaque on the X-ray image, allowing the doctor to visualize the blood vessels being evaluated.