Diagnostic Services

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Cardiac Ultrasound
Services
The Cardiac Ultrasound Laboratory in the Heart and Vascular Institute is committed to excellence in screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of cardiac disease. Our Laboratory provides studies of the blood flow through the heart and measures he heart’s pumping ability to assess conditions such as fluid around the heart or congestive heart failure.

Our Cardiac Ultrasound Laboratory is fully accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories. Through compliance with their published standards, we are recognized as one of a select number of echocardiography laboratories in the United States, committed to providing high quality testing for the diagnosis of cardiac disease.

Tests
Cardiac ultrasound testing includes:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)
    This is the most common type of echocardiogram. Views of the heart are obtained by moving the transducer to different locations on your chest or abdominal wall. This test includes two-dimensional images of the heart beating, measurements of the speed and direction of t he blood flow (Doppler), and color images of the blood flowing through the heart (Color Flow Mapping).

  • Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE)
    This test requires passing the transducer through the esophagus to obtain more direct pictures of your heart. This is usually performed when pictures from the most common type of echo are not clear due to shadows from the bones of the chest wall or lung interference. The TEE requires a mild sedative and an anesthetic is applied to your throat to make you more comfortable during the test.

  • Pediatric Echocardiograms
    This test is performed on children younger than 18 years of age to check for genetic abnormalities and birth defects.

EKG Testing
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG translates the heart's electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves. The heart is a muscular pump made up of four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria, and the two lower chambers are called ventricles. A natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood through the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body.
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Holter Monitoring
An ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart while you do your usual activities. Many heart problems become noticeable only during activity, such as exercise, eating, sex, stress, bowel movements, or even sleeping. A continuous 24-hour recording is more likely to detect any abnormal heartbeats that occur during these activities.

Many people have irregular heartbeats from time to time. The importance of irregular heartbeats depends on the type of pattern they produce, how often they occur, how long they last, and whether they occur at the same time you have symptoms. Because arrhythmias can occur off and on, it may be difficult to record an arrhythmia while you are in the doctor's office.

Continuous recorders
The most common type is the Holter monitor recording. It provides a 24- to 72-hour record of the electrical signals from your heart. A standard EKG monitors only 40 to 50 heartbeats during the brief period you are attached to the machine. A continuous recorder monitors about 100,000 heartbeats in 24 hours and is likely to find any heart problems that happen with activity.

Cardiac Stress Test
A cardiac stress or exercise electrocardiogram  is a test that checks for changes in your heart while you exercise. Sometimes EKG abnormalities can be seen only during exercise or while symptoms are present. This test is sometimes called a "stress test" or a "treadmill test." During a stress test, you may either walk on a motor-driven treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle.

A stress test translates the heart's electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves.

A resting EKG is always done before an exercise EKG test, and results of the resting EKG are compared to the results of the cardiac stress test. A resting EKG may also show a heart problem that would make an exercise EKG unsafe.

Nuclear Cardiology Studies
The most common nuclear cardiology study is a cardiac perfusion scan. This scan measures the amount of blood in your heart muscle at rest and during exercise. It is often done to find out what may be causing chest pain, and it is performed after a heart attack to see if areas of the heart are not getting enough blood or how much heart muscle has been damaged.

During the scan, a camera takes pictures of the heart after a special test medicine (radioactive tracer) is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer travels through the blood and into the heart muscle. As the tracer moves through the heart muscle, areas that have good blood flow absorb the tracer. Areas that do not absorb tracer may not be getting enough blood or may have been damaged by a heart attack.

Two sets of pictures may be made during a cardiac perfusion scan. One set is taken while you are resting. Another set is taken after your heart has been stressed, either by exercise or after you have been given a medicine. The resting pictures are then compared with the stress images.

Vascular Ultrasound
Services
The Vascular Ultrasound Laboratory is committed to excellence in screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of vascular disease. The Laboratory provides studies of the blood flow through the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages that may lead to a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Vascular ultrasound image includes imaging and flow mapping as well as physiologic monitoring of how the vascular disease has progressed.

Our Vascular Ultrasound Laboratory is fully accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories. Through compliance with their published standards, we are recognized as one of a select number of vascular laboratories in the United States committed to providing high quality testing for the diagnosis of vascular disease.

Tests
Vascular ultrasound tests are commonly known as Doppler or duplex studies. They use high-pitched sound waves to reflect off the blood vessels and create pictures of the blood moving through the veins and arteries.

At the time of testing, a brief medical history of present symptoms and past medical problems will be obtained. During the test, a water based gel is placed on the area to be tested. A flat surface transducer is rubbed over those areas to obtain pictures and measurements for your physician to review.

Our Vascular Ultrasound Laboratory performs multiple combinations and types of vascular procedures that obtain information on arteries or veins in the abdomen, neck, arms, and legs. Imaging consists of two-dimensional (2D) pictures of the blood vessels that give your doctor information on the anatomy of your arteries and veins. Doppler measures the flow of blood to give your doctor information on blockages and clots.

All vascular ultrasound tests are non-invasive and do not require needles, dyes, or X-rays.

  • Doppler
    Doppler studies listen to the blood flowing and converts the sound waves to blood flow patterns or graphs. Changes in the patterns indicate narrowed areas that are restricting blood flow. Blood pressures may be used on the legs to add further information about the blood flow restriction.
  • Duplex
    Duplex is a combination of imaging (2D) and Doppler to get pictures of the vessels with a measurement of the speed and direction of the blood flow.
  • Color Flow Mapping
    This procedure includes duplex and Doppler converted to not only graphs but a color representation of the blood flowing.

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