Heart Testing and Vascular Procedures
Coronary Calcium Score
HeartScore is a 10-minute CT scan of your heart that uses no needles, no fasting and no running on a treadmill. Also known as a coronary calcium scan, this non-invasive test can detect heart disease early, long before any symptoms appear.
Recent research has shown a correlation between the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries and the likelihood of a future heart attack. If you smoke, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or a family history of coronary artery disease, you could be at risk
A stress test shows how your heart works during physical activity or by injection and imaging. It determines the amount of stress that your heart can take before showing signs of damage such as an abnormal rhythm.
Cardiac Stress Test
A cardiac stress test is performed by a physician or technician to determine the amount of stress that your heart can take before showing signs of damage such as an abnormal rhythm. The exercise stress test is also known as the exercise electrocardiogram, treadmill test, graded exercise test or stress ECG.
It is used to provide information about how the heart responds to exertion. As you walk, your heart will be monitored for any changes or problems that would suggest your heart is not working optimally.
Nuclear Stress Test
Despite the action movie-title-sounding name, nuclear stress tests are very safe and ordinary. During this cardiac diagnostic test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into the patient. Physicians will use a special camera to identify the rays emitted from the radioactive tracer while it is in the body. By using this heart test, Baptist doctors can view clear pictures of the heart tissue on a monitor.
For patients who are unable to perform the traditional exercise stress test, physicians will use a drug to mimic the heart's response to exercise. This is performed in conjunction with nuclear cardiac perfusion imaging.
A stress echocardiogram provides a graphic outline of the heart's movement. This test can accurately visualize the pumping action of the heart when it's stressed. This test could reveal a lack of blood flow that can't always be seen from other stress tests.
Catheterization Procedures & Tests
Cardiac catherization procedures are used to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular conditions. During a catheterization test, a thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel leading to the heart.
During this heart test, a specialist will inflate and deflate a balloon inside a blood vessel to compress plaque that could be blocking blood flow.
A small metal coil or tube is placed in an artery to provide support to a weakened artery. Coronary stents are frequently used in conjunction with balloon angioplasty procedures. There are two types of stents: bare metal and drug-eluting.
This catheterization technique removes plaque from arteries using several different advanced methods.
These electronic devices are inserted with a catheter to regulate heart beats.
By putting a small catheter in an artery, specialists can use ultrasound imaging to take pictures and better see blockages.
Similar to a balloon angioplasty, in this cardiovascular procedure a larger balloon is inflated and deflated in order to expand a constricted valve.
Angiogram/Cardiac Catheterization (Heart Testing with Dye)
For this heart test, a specialist places a catheter in an artery in the wrist or groin, then guides the catheter to the area being studied. Contrast dye is injected into the catheter, which provides detailed X-ray pictures of the heart and its blood vessels.
Catheterization Procedures and Tests
Electrophysiology (EP) focuses on the electrical system of your heart. Normally, electrical impulses cause your heart to beat at an appropriate rate and rhythm. However, sometimes arrhythmias and potentially serious disorders can affect the heart’s rhythm. Cardiac electrophysiology examines and treats the heart's electrical system.
Learn about electrophysiology treatments and services offered at Baptist below.
Electrical Studies and Ablations
EP studies and ablations are invasive heart testing procedures that require one or more sheaths to be inserted into your veins and possibly an artery. Some physicians insert a sheath in a blood vessel near the collarbone. Through these sheaths, catheters are placed that can send and receive electrical signals from your heart.
X-ray is used to see these catheters during your heart testing procedure. X-ray dye may be needed to see your anatomy. If the physician is performing an ablation, he may choose radio frequency energy or cryoablation. After evaluating your medical history and test results, your doctor may recommend the insertion of a device.
If your heart can no longer provide the right electrical stimulus and conduct the current through the regions of your heart, your doctor may recommend a pacemaker. It will be inserted in the area under your left or right collar bone depending on your history. Your surgeon makes an incision and pocket for the device, and inserts a lead or leads in a blood vessel and connect them to the device. The pacemaker is placed in the pocket under the skin and the incision is then closed.
Internal Cardiac Defibrillators (ICD)
Some individuals are at high risk for life-threatening arrhythmias. This can be due to a physical condition, as well as hereditary conditions. Your surgeon can insert an ICD, which appears similar to a pacemaker but is larger. As well as sensing and terminating fast heart rhythms from the bottom of the heart, defibrillators can also pace like a pacemaker. This provides protection from slow heart rhythms.
Biventricular Pacemakers and Defibrillators
If the left and right ventricles of the heart are not contracting at the same time, your heart may need help with this function and can be accomplished by adding a third lead through the coronary sinus. Your lead allows your device to improve the timing of your contractions.
Internal Loop Recorder
If tests do not provide the information your doctor needs to make a diagnosis for your symptoms, or if your doctor needs to have documentation of your heart rhythm for an extended period, a loop recorder implant may be suggested. This is a small device that is placed under the skin in the left chest through a puncture. This device can typically last three years, if needed, after which time it can be removed.
This is a heart testing procedure used to get your heart in a regular rhythm with normal electrical conduction.
Tilt Table Test
Patients who are passing out or experiencing loss of consciousness may need this cardiovascular test. You will be asked to lie flat on a table connected to monitoring equipment. Safety straps are placed under your arms, around your waist, and above and below your ankles. Blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturations will be monitored and recorded. After a baseline of information is collected, your doctor will ask that the table be raised to an almost standing position, approximately 70 degrees.
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