Diagnostic Services and Procedures
Diagnostic Procedures are used to help assess and diagnose patients for cardiovascular disease. Diagnostic procedures are non-invasive and usually are performed on an outpatient basis.
Cardiovascular diagnostic procedures include:
Cardiac Catheterization is a diagnostic procedure that gives cardiologists a definitive picture of heart function and the coronary arteries. A catheter is inserted into an artery and guided to the coronary arteries. Real-time X-rays are taken of the arteries, showing narrowing and blockages. Images are taken of the main pumping chamber of the heart to check functions and valve motion.
Cardiac doppler reveals the speed and direction of blood flow within the heart. It uses sound waves which reflect off the moving red blood cells within the heart chambers.
Cardiac nuclear imaging, or perfusion scan, is a method of checking blood flow through the walls of the heart using radioactive tracer material. This usually is done along with a stress test.
Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to investigate and display the action of the heart as it beats. Procedures include:
- Fetal to adult echodiagnostic procedures
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
- Stress echocardiography
Electrocardiography is a testing method commonly used to determine if the heart has been damaged. Also known as EKG, an electrocardiogram is a graphic record of the heart's electrical impulses.
Excercise stress test requires patients to walk on a treadmill to determine if they have cardiovascular disease. Specialty-trained staff perform the procedure with a cardiologist supervising. The stress test can:
- Identify ischemic heart disease
- Evaluate patients with chest pain
- Assess results of therapy
- Aid in developing individual physical fitness programs
Pharmacological stress testing is uses medication to cause an increase in heart rate without walking on a treadmill. This test is appropriate for patients who:
- Have an amputated limb
- Have difficulty walking
- Have exertional dyspnea (labored or difficult breathing)
Nuclear stress testing is any form of stress test that is includes the addition of a nuclear isotope for a more specific test result.