Cardio Medical Consultants Group provides comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic cardiovascular services. Below are some of the diagnostic and therapeutic tests that our office provides.
ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (ECG, EKG)
An electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) is a test in which electrode patches are attached to the skin to monitor the electrical activity of the heart. ECGs can observe heart rhythm, diagnose heart attacks, and more.
HOLTER MONITORING / AMBULATORY ELECTROCARDIOGRAM
An ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart while you do your usual activities. (Ambulatory means that you are able to walk.)
Many heart problems become noticeable only during activity, therefore a continuous 24-hour recording is more likely to detect any abnormal heartbeats that occur during these activities.
Many people have irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) 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 hard to record an arrhythmia while you are in the doctor's office.
An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen.
The different types of echocardiograms are:
Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). This is the most common type. Views of the heart are obtained by moving the transducer to different locations on your chest or abdominal wall.
Stress echocardiogram. During this test, an echocardiogram is done both before and after your heart is stressed either by having you exercise or by injecting a medicine that makes your heart beat harder and faster. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to find out if you might have decreased blood flow to your heart (coronary artery disease).
Doppler echocardiogram. This test is used to look at how blood flows through the heart chambers, heart valves, and blood vessels. The movement of the blood reflects sound waves to a transducer. The ultrasound computer then measures the direction and speed of the blood flowing through your heart and blood vessels. Doppler measurements may be displayed in black and white or in color.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). For this test, the probe is passed down the esophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. TEE shows clearer pictures of your heart, because the probe is located closer to the heart and because the lungs and bones of the chest wall do not block the sound waves produced by the probe. Asedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat are used to make you comfortable during this test.
CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION AND INTERVENTION
Cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronaryangiogram) is an invasive imaging procedure that tests for heart disease by allowing your doctor to "see" the inside of the arteries and how well your heart is functioning. During the test, a long, narrow tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or leg and guided to your heart with the aid of a special X-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that X-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries, and heart chambers can be created.
Stents are small expandable tubes used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries in the body. In patients with coronary heart disease, caused by the buildup of plaque, stents are used to open narrowed arteries and help reduce symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or to help treat aheart attack.
PERIPHERAL ANGIOGRAPHY AND INTERVENTION
Angioplasty (also called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, or PTA) is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through an artery and guided to the place where the artery is narrowed.
When the tube reaches the narrowed artery, a small balloon at the end of the tube inflates for a short time. The pressure from the inflated balloon presses the fat and calcium (plaque) against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow.
In angioplasty of the aorta (the major abdominal artery) or the iliacarteries (which branch off from the aorta), a small, expandable tube called a stent is usually put in place at the same time. Reclosure (restenosis) of the artery is less likely to occur if a stent is used. Stentsare less commonly used in angioplasty of smaller leg arteries like the femoral, popliteal, or tibial arteries, because they are subject to trauma and damage in these locations.
ANKLE BRACHIAL INDEX (ABI)
This test is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.
The ankle-brachial index (ABI) result is used to predict the severity of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). A slight drop in your ABI withexercise means that you probably have PAD. This drop may be important, because PAD can be linked to a higher risk of heart attack orstroke.
LOWER EXTERMITY ARTERIAL AND VENOUS ULTRASOUND
Doppler ultrasonography (US) is used in the evaluation of lower-extremity arterial and venous disease. Doppler US findings provide good information about the anatomy and physiology of the vessels. Spectral Doppler ultrasonography and color-flow vascular imaging supplement gray-scale US in identifying blood vessels, confirming the direction of blood flow, and detecting vascular stenosis or occlusion.
CAROTID ARTERY ULTRASOUND
That test uses sound waves to detect blockages in the carotid artery, the main artery that supplies blood to the brain. This noninvasive, painless screening test uses high-frequency sound waves to view the carotid arteries. It looks for plaques and blood clots and determines whether the arteries are narrowed or blocked. A Doppler ultrasound shows the movement of blood through the blood vessels.
The different types of stress tests are:
Stress echocardiogram: An echocardiogram (often called "echo") is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. A stress echo can accurately visualize the motion of the heart's walls and pumping action when the heart is stressed; it may reveal a lack of blood flow that isn't always apparent on other heart tests.
Dobutamine Stress Test: This test is used in people who are unable to exercise. A drug is given to make the heart respond as if the person were exercising. This way the doctor can still determine how the heart responds to stress, but no exercise is required.
Nuclear stress test: This test helps to determine which parts of the heart are healthy and function normally and which are not. A small amount of radioactive substance is injected into the patient. Then the doctor uses a special camera to identify the rays emitted from the substance within the body; this produces clear pictures of the heart tissue on a monitor. These pictures are done both at rest and after exercise. Using this technique, areas of the heart that have a decreased blood supply can be detected.
The normal, healthy heart has its own pacemaker that regulates the rate that the heart beats.
However, some hearts don't beat regularly. A pacemaker can sometimes correct the problem. A pacemaker is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate and rhythm.
Pacemakers are implanted just under the skin of the chest during a minor surgical procedure.
The pacemaker has two parts: the leads and a pulse generator. The pulse generator houses the battery and a tiny computer, and resides just under the skin of the chest. The leads are wires that are threaded through the veins into the heart and implanted into the heart muscle. They send impulses from the pulse generator to the heart muscle, as well as sense the heart's electrical activity.
Our office provides a clinic for checking your pacemaker and cardiac defibrillator for battery life and device function.
ENHANCED EXTERNAL COUNTERPULSATION (EECP)
When all other treatments have failed to relieve persistent angina (chest pain) symptoms, EECP may be an option. EECP can help stimulate blood vessels to develop small branches, creating a natural bypass around narrowed or blockedarteries that cause the chest pain.
The EECP treatment uses a series of blood pressure cuffs on both legs to gently but firmly compress the blood vessels in the lower limbs to increase blood flow to the heart. Each wave of pressure is electronically timed to the heartbeat, so that the increased blood flow is delivered to your heart at the precise moment it is relaxing.
When the heart pumps again, pressure is released instantaneously. This lowers resistance in the blood vessels in the legs so that blood may be pumped more easily from your heart.