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Cardiac Diagnostic Services

Through our years of experience using the latest tools and technologies, our physicians are able to expertly identify and diagnose heart issues for better long-term outcomes. Our cardiac diagnostic services include:

CT Scan

Cardiac CT scans look for calcium in the arteries. This is a sign of atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up. During a cardiac CT test, an X-ray takes cross-sectional images of the heart. These are timed to your heartbeats, so the pictures aren’t blurred as the heart moves.

Before a CT, you may be given a contrast material, or “dye,” so doctors can see inside the arteries better.

If the CT finds calcium in your arteries, it could mean that you are at risk for having a heart attack or dying from heart problems. This is true even if you don’t have any symptoms.

Although CT is noninvasive, it does have some risks, including exposure to radiation that is somewhat greater than that of an ordinary X-ray. Many experts recommend CT scans for people considered at “intermediate” risk for heart attack.

MRI Scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that 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.

Watch a video: Cardiac MRI to Diagnose Valve Disease

 

Ultrasound

Heart ultrasound provides allows physicians to see moving images of your heart to help evaluate heart health. The most common types of heart ultrasound are non-invasive and include:

Echocardiogram (Echo)

An echocardiogram is a non-invasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the heart's function and structures. During the procedure, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce or "echo" off of the heart structures. These sound waves are sent to a computer that can create moving images of the heart walls and valves.

Interventional Transesophageal
Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiography is also known as TEE, or heart scan with endoscopy.

TEE is used to evaluate the internal heart structures and path of blood flow in congenital (present at birth) heart defects. TEE is also used during heart surgery to evaluate the effects of surgical intervention to the heart, such as repair of congenital heart defects. In addition, TEE can be used to evaluate the valves of the heart to look for damage or infection.

TEE uses a small probe guided into the esophagus while a child is sedated to closely evaluate the heart and blood vessels within the chest.

The TEE transducer works the same as the one used in a regular echocardiogram. However, a clearer image can be obtained because the sound waves do not have to pass through skin, muscle, or bone tissue.

Certain conditions of the heart, such as mitral valve disorders, blood clots or masses inside the heart, dissection (tear) of the lining of the aorta (the artery which carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body), and implanted prosthetic (artificial) heart valves may be better visualized and assessed with TEE than with regular echocardiograms. TEE is often done to evaluate for blood clots in the heart prior to cardioversion or ablation procedures to correct abnormal heart rhythms.

Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a test in which a small catheter (hollow tube) is guided through the large artery in the upper leg, or sometimes the wrist or arm, into the heart. Dye is given through the catheter, and moving X-ray pictures are made as the dye travels through the heart. This comprehensive 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.