Cardiac Diagnostic Services
About half of American adults will have a cardiovascular condition in their lifetime. That’s why it’s important to have regular screenings and speak with your doctor about any heart issues you may be experiencing.
We offer a full spectrum of imaging and testing services to catch problems in your heart and blood vessels as early as possible. Our specialists use sophisticated technologies to provide a definitive diagnosis and develop your personalized treatment plan. We offer the most effective diagnostic tools for your situation.
Noninvasive Tests and Procedures
- Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG): We record your heart’s electrical activity to monitor changes in your heart’s rhythm. This test can determine if you’ve had a heart attack or have heart problems such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure.
- Echocardiography: We use high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to take “pictures” of your heart’s size, structure, and movement. Echocardiography, or an echocardiogram, is also called an echo test or heart ultrasound.
- Chest X-ray: An X-ray uses waves of radiation to create a picture of the heart, lungs, and bones of the chest. This test checks for heart enlargement or fluid build-up in your lungs after a heart attack.
- Cardiac computed tomography (CT or CAT scan): Computer imaging (tomography) refers to several tests that use digital techniques to produce images of your heart. We often use CT scans for cardiac calcium scoring. This test can show whether calcium deposits are blocking your coronary arteries (blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to your heart). CT scans are also used to help plan advanced procedures.
- Nuclear cardiology: For this test, we place a radioactive dye called a tracer into one of your veins, and the dye travels through your blood vessels to your heart. Then, we create images of your heart muscle using single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scans. These images can show how well blood is flowing to your heart and whether you’ve had a heart attack.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI uses a magnetic field to produce detailed pictures. An MRI test can evaluate heart function as well as heart tissue in people with thickened heart muscle or very weak heart muscle (heart failure). We often use this tool to see the heart in greater detail compared with standard echocardiography.
The first purpose of a physician is simply to make patients feel better and live longer. The first step, of course, is to make the correct diagnosis. I find that I learn the most about my patients and their medical problems just by listening to them, and then by doing just the tests that are appropriate, as opposed to excess testing with little benefit.Dr. Jay A. Erlebacher, Medical Director, Echocardiography Laboratory
- Cardiac event monitor: If your arrhythmia is infrequent, we may ask you to carry or wear a small cardiac event monitor for a few days or weeks. When you feel symptoms, you hold the recorder against your chest and press a button. These devices record electrical activity (ECG) when you have symptoms.
- Ambulatory electrocardiography and Holter monitoring: You wear a small portable device that records your heart’s electrical activity, usually for 24–48 hours. This test can identify unusual activity in your heart.
Stress and Tilt Table Tests
- Exercise stress test: In this test, we attach a monitor with electrodes to your chest to record your heart function while you walk in place on a treadmill. We can check several areas of heart function, like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrical activity in your heart, and fatigue when exercising.
- Thallium stress test: We inject a radioactive substance called thallium into the bloodstream while you’re exercising. We use a special camera to take pictures of the heart’s muscle cells to measure blood flow and determine the extent of a potential heart condition.
- Tilt table testing: If you experience fainting spells, we may use this test to observe how your body responds to a change in position. During the test, you lie on a table that is tilted upright while we monitor your symptoms, blood pressure, and ECG.
Further Tests and Procedures
Depending on your symptoms and potential condition, we may also use procedures such as:
- Blood tests: We may test your blood to measure substances in your body, such as cardiac enzymes, C-reactive protein, triglycerides and cholesterol, and more. These biomarkers can confirm whether you’ve had a heart attack and how serious the damage is. They can also tell us how long your blood takes to clot and help us assess your future risk for disease.
- Electrophysiology study: This minimally invasive procedure maps the heart’s electrical system using electrode catheters to identify the location of the arrhythmia. We place these thin, flexible tubes in a vein or artery in your leg and move them into the heart to record electrical activity.
- Cardiac catheterization: We offer access to the region’s most advanced digital cardiac catheterization imaging technology. In this procedure, we thread a hollow tube (catheter) from a blood vessel in your arm, groin, or neck to your heart. Then we inject dye from the catheter into blood vessels, so we can see them using special X-rays called angiograms. This test can help us identify and treat blocked arteries, measure blood pressure and oxygen, and evaluate heart function.