Diagnostic tests can help our doctors assess the disease or problem and plan your heart care treatment. At Boone Hospital Center, we offer a full range of invasive and noninvasive procedures from echocardiography to advanced catheterization. Your physician can provide you more information on preparing for these tests.
Cardiac nuclear imaging
A cardiac nuclear scan is an imaging procedure in which a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein. This material does not cause harm to your body or organs. A special camera and a computer are then able to take pictures of your heart. Sometimes the pictures are taken during a stress test.
Nuclear medicine tests help your doctor assess the function of your heart and the flow of blood to the heart muscle. These tests may identify whether more investigation is needed into signs and symptoms of heart disease and aid in diagnosing and treating your condition.
An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. This test allows our doctors to evaluate the valves and chambers of the heart.
Types of Echocardiography:
- Transthoracic adult echocardiogram (TTE) is done by placing a device called a transducer on your chest to take views of your heart. The transducer sends special sounds waves, called ultrasound, through your chest wall to your heart. As the ultrasound waves bounce off the structures of your heart, a computer in the echo machine converts them into picture on a screen for the technologist.
- Transesophageal adult echocardiogram (TEE) is done if your doctor has difficulty seeing the aorta, heart valves and other parts of your heart. During this test, a transducer is attached to the end of a flexible tube, which is guided down your throat and into your esophagus. This allows the doctor to get more detailed images of your heart.
- Stress echocardiogram is done as part of a stress test. Patients will exercise or take medicine (given by their doctor) to make their heart work hard and beat fast while a technologist uses an echo to create images of the heart before exercise and after.
- Dobutamine Stress echocardiogram allows your physician to evaluate your heart and valve function when you are unable to exercise by injecting a medication called dobutamine. Patients are then closely monitored while the medication stimulates the heart in the same way as exercise.
- Intracardiac Echocardiogram is done by inserting a small ultrasound probe in a vein in the groin and then threading it into the heart. This can be done as a diagnostic procedure or to aid an interventional surgery such as stent placement or the repair of a hole.
An electrocardiogram is also known as an EKG or ECG. This test is done in order to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats by recording the heart’s electrical activity. It can also determine the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any heart damage and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart.
Vascular ultrasound is used to examine the circulation in the blood vessels of the body to help diagnose the narrowing of the arteries, a condition known as Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), and CerebroVascular Disease (CVD). It can evaluate blood vessels in the neck, abdomen, arms and legs. Vascular ultrasound can also be used to diagnose blood clots in the veins of the arms and legs, a condition known as Deep Vein Trombosis or DVT.
Holter Monitoring (24 hour)
A Holter monitor is a box carried on a shoulder strap with wires that are painlessly connected to the chest with patches. It measures heart rate and rhythm for a 12- to 24-hour period. This monitor is commonly worn by a patient before and after cardiac surgery, so the doctor can compare before and after information on the heart’s electrical activity.
This device is similar to a Holter Monitor, but is used over the course of several days for those patients not experiencing symptoms on a daily basis.
Chest x-rays can provide information on the size, shape and contour of the heart and vessels. Changes in normal structure can indicate diseases or other conditions.
CT scans are used to detect calcium deposits found in plaque build-up in coronary arteries which indicates risk for cardiovascular problems.