Non Invasive Cardiology
Also called ECG or EKG, are performed by placing electrode patches on the chest and extremities and connecting them to a machine. The sensors pick up electrical activity in the heart and send the results to the printer and a monitor. A lot of information can be obtained from an electrocardiogram, including heart rate and heart rhythm. It can help determine if a heart attack is occurring and reveal where the damage is located.
An echocardiogram, also known as an ECHO, is a relatively simple test in which high-frequency sound waves are bounced off the heart to create an image of its structures, somewhat like the sonar a submarine uses underwater. Using a sound probe placed at various locations on the chest, the doctor can see an image of the pumping action of the heart and how the valves are working.
Also known as “treadmill tests,” exercise stress tests are used to look for coronary heart disease or blocked coronary arteries. It can be used to assess the cause of chest pain. Patients undergoing this test walk on a treadmill machine while a technician monitors their symptoms and blood pressure, and an electrocardiogram. If patients cannot exercise, the heart is “stressed” with drugs that mimic the effect of exercise on the treadmill.
Exercise echocardiography is another type of stress test combining exercise and echocardiogram pictures to show the contraction of the heart. Like exercise stress tests, drugs can be used to for patients who cannot exercise.
This monitoring includes Holter monitoring and event monitoring. Both these tests provide the doctor with information about how the patient’s heart responds during normal daily activities over a period of time. These tests can be done for several days or longer depending on the information the doctor needs.
Impedance cardiography (ICG) is a safe, non-invasive method to measure a patient’s hemodynamic status. The ICG waveform is generated by thoracic electrical bioimpedance (TEB) technology, which measures the level of change in impedance in the thoracic fluid. Four small sensors send and receive a low amplitude electrical current through the thorax to detect the level of change in resistance in the thoracic fluid. With each cardiac cycle, fluid levels change, which affects the impedance to the electrical signal transmitted by the sensors.
These tests use a small amount of a radioactive agent to study blood flow, how the chambers of the heart are functioning and how big they are. These tests may be used to monitor the progress of disease in patients. They may be done with an exercise stress test.
Physician Assistant and medical assistants work under the direction of each patient’s physician to provide safe, therapeutic care for those on anticoagulant medication. Through individual assessment, monitoring and education, we help patients maintain an optimal level of anticoagulation, preventing too little or too much thinning of the blood. Patients who benefit from the clinic include those with atrial fibrillation or mechanical heart valves as well as those who have had deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism or other forms of blood clots.
Pacemaker interrogation is a process for checking on the function of a pacemaker to make sure it is working properly and the batteries are in good condition. In this procedure, a doctor waves a wand connected to a computer over the patient’s chest. The wand and pacemaker communicate wirelessly, allowing the computer to extract data from the pacemaker’s memory. The computer will also check on the pacemaker’s battery life. This is not painful to the patient, although sometimes patients feel lightheaded or strange during a pacemaker interrogation.
Diagnostic Non-Invasive Cardiology
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test that produces pictures of your heart. TEE uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make detailed pictures of your heart and the arteries that lead to and from it. Unlike a standard echocardiogram, the echo transducer that produces the sound waves for TEE is attached to a thin tube that passes through your mouth, down your throat and into your esophagus. Because the esophagus is so close to the upper chambers of the heart, very clear images of those heart structures and valves can be obtained.
A coronary angiogram is a special X-ray test. It’s done to find out if your coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed, where and by how much. An angiogram can help your doctor see if you need treatment such as angioplasty or stent, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or medical therapy
A pacemaker insertion is the implantation of a small electronic device that is usually placed in the chest (just below the collarbone) to help regulate slow electrical problems with the heart.