Individual consultations cover general cardiology conditions and concerns,
including chest pain, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease,
hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, preventative cardiology, as well as
Pacemaker and Heart Device Follow-up
Cardiac devices such as pacemakers or implantable defibrillators require
routine, detailed follow-up to assure proper function.
Stress testing provides information about how an individual’s heart
works during physical stress. Some heart problems are easier to diagnose
when the heart is working hard and beating fast. During stress testing,
patients exercise by walking or running on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike.
Pharmacologic Stress Testing
This noninvasive diagnostic procedure is usually performed on those who
are unable to walk on a treadmill. It combines nuclear imaging with a
drug that increases demand on the heart to match exercise-type level.
The small, portable, battery-powered ECG machine is worn by a person to
record heartbeats on tape over a period of 24 to 48 hours during normal
activities. At the end of the time period, the monitor is returned to
the doctor's office so the tape can be read and evaluated.
In cardiac catheterization - also called cardiac cath - a very small hollow
tube, or catheter, is guided through the large artery in the groin or
arm through the aorta into the heart. Once the catheter is in place, several
diagnostic techniques may be used. The tip of the catheter can be placed
into various parts of the heart to measure the pressures within the chambers.
This test shows narrowings in the arteries, heart chamber size, pumping
ability of the heart and ability of the valves to open and close, as well
as a measurement of the pressures within the heart chambers and arteries.
The catheter can be advanced into the coronary arteries and a contrast
dye injected into the arteries.
This test records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal
rhythms (arrhythmias), and can sometimes detect heart muscle damage.
Echocardiogram (also known as echo)
This noninvasive test uses sound waves to evaluate the heart's chambers
and valves. The echo sound waves create an image on the monitor as an
ultrasound probe is passed over the heart.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Heart
This diagnostic procedure uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies,
and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within
the body. MRI of the heart may be used to evaluate the heart valves and
major vessels, detect coronary artery disease and the extent of damage
it has caused, evaluate congenital defects, and detect the presence of
tumors or other abnormalities. The cardiac MRI may be used prior to other
cardiac procedures such as angioplasty or stenting of the coronary arteries
and cardiac or vascular surgery.
Cardiac CT Scan
This imaging procedure uses an X-ray machine and a computer to create 3-dimensional
pictures of the heart. Sometimes a dye is injected into the vein so that
the heart arteries can be seen as well.
An interventional procedure is a non-surgical treatment used to open narrowed
coronary arteries to improve blood flow to the heart. This procedure can
be performed during a diagnostic cardiac catheterization when a blockage
is identified, or it may be scheduled after a catheterization has confirmed
the presence of coronary artery disease.
Once the catheter is in place, an interventional procedure is performed
to open the artery: balloon angioplasty, stent placement, rotablation
or cutting balloon.
Angioplasty is used to open narrow or blocked coronary (heart) arteries
to restore blood flow to the heart muscle.
A stent is a small mesh tube that's used to treat narrow or weak arteries.
It’s inserted in the clogged artery with a balloon catheter. The
balloon is inflated and the stent expands and locks in place. This allows
the artery to open and allows blood to flow more freely. Doctors also
may place stents in weak arteries to improve blood flow and help prevent
the arteries from bursting.
A special catheter, with an acorn-shaped, diamond-coated tip, is guided
to the point of narrowing in the coronary artery. The tip spins around
at a high speed and grinds away the plaque on the arterial walls. This
process is repeated as needed to treat the blockage and improve blood
flow. The microscopic particles are washed safely away in the blood stream
and filtered out by the liver and spleen.
The cutting balloon catheter has a balloon tip with small blades. When
the balloon is inflated, the blades are activated. The small blades score
the plaque, then, the balloon compresses the fatty matter into the arterial
wall. This type of balloon may be used to treat the build of plaque within
a previously placed stent (restenosis) or other types of blockages.