Cardiac Tests and Procedures

The key to proper, effective treatment of complex cardiovascular diseases is an accurate diagnosis. The Good Heart Corporation is trained in the most up-to-date methods of diagnostic testing to determine the proper treatment for each individual patient. Diagnostic testing includes both non-invasive and invasive procedures, including EKG testing, echocardiography, arterial and venous ultrasound, cardiac nuclear imaging, heart monitoring, stress testing, angioplasty, and cardiac catheterization.

EKG Testing

An EKG is a non-invasive cardiac test to evaluate the electrical activity of the heart. It provides information about a person’s heart rate, rhythm, blood supply to the heart and possible structural abnormalities of the heart. An EKG helps determine if a heart attack has occurred and if a heart attack is developing.

Cardiac Stress Testing

An EKG is a non-invasive cardiac test to evaluate the electrical activity of the heart. It provides information about a person’s heart rate, rhythm, blood supply to the heart and possible structural abnormalities of the heart. An EKG helps determine if a heart attack has occurred and if a heart attack is developing.

Cardiac Nuclear Scans

A cardiac nuclear scan is an imaging procedure in which a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein. The radioactive material does not harm your body or organs. A special camera and a computer take pictures of the heart. The resulting images provide information about the coronary arteries and heart function.

There are three common types of nuclear heart scans: the myocardial infarction scan, myocardial perfusion scan, and multigated-acquisition or MUGA scan. The latter two scans are often done while you exercise; this is known as stress testing.

Angioplasty

Also known as Percutaneous Coronary Interventions [PCI], Balloon Angioplasty and Coronary Artery Balloon Dilation
Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries. The balloon is inflated to widen blocked areas where blood flow to the heart muscle has been reduced or cutoff. Often combined with implantation of a stent to help prop the artery open and decrease the chance of another blockage. Considered less invasive because the body is not cut open. Lasts from 30 minutes to several hours. Often requires an overnight hospital stay.

Angioplasty greatly increases blood flow, decreases chest pain (angina), and reduces risk of a heart attack.

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

Also known as a cardiac ultrasound exam. An echocardiogram (ECHO) procedure uses a hand-held device called a transducer that produces ultrasonic sound waves. The sound waves form images of the inside of the heart showing your heart’s size, structure, and motion. Echo also uses a technique called color doppler to view blood flow and blood flow velocity through the heart.

Cardiac Event Monitor

A cardiac event monitor is a battery-powered portable device that you control to tape-record your heart’s electrical activity (ECG) when you have symptoms. A cardiac event monitors records your heart rate and rhythm as you go about your daily activities. They are also called ambulatory electrocardiographic monitors.

A cardiac event recorder makes a record of your electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) when you have fast or slow heartbeats, or feel dizzy or like you want to faint. It can also be used to see how you respond to medicines. The main purpose of an event monitor is to record your heart during a symptom or “event”.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization involves threading a long, thin tube (a catheter) through an artery or vein in your leg or arm into the heart. Through the catheter, your doctor can do diagnostic tests and treatments on your heart; including; injecting dye through the catheter to see the heart and its arteries or sending electrical impulses through the catheter to study irregular heartbeats. Heart catheterization helps diagnose disease affecting the function of the heart’s muscles, walls and valves as well as the coronary arteries that feed blood to the heart.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) combines the use of a thin, flexible, lighted viewing tube (endoscope) with ultrasound imaging to visualize the heart and nearby structures. The endoscope, which is passed into the mouth and down the esophagus, is used to position a tiny device called a transducer behind the heart. The transducer directs high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) at the heart; the sound waves that are echoed back from the heart are then electronically converted into real-time images displayed on a viewing monitor. These images may be recorded on film or video and reviewed for abnormalities.

VSAT

The VSAT series (Vital System Assessment Tests) is comprised of the following tests of Heart Rate Variability, Pulse Wave Velocity and Sudomotor Function. Heart Rate Variability (HRV), measuring the minute changes in time between heartbeats, is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the only known predictor for sudden cardiac death, as first discovered by the Framingham Study. Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV), which measures the speed at which the heartbeat’s wave of pressure passes through the arteries is the gold-standard non-invasive test of arterial elasticity. PWV is also an independent risk factor for adverse cardiovascular events. The test for sudomotor function, or the “movement of sweat”, is the Sympathetic Skin Response, or SSR. It is a simple, non-invasive test that assesses the skin’s sympathetic activity by measuring the change in electrical potential of the skin due to a small amount of sweat production. The sympathetic nervous system mediates appropriate sweat production, and this system is often malfunctioning in distal neuropathies, such as those frequently seen in diabetes, as well as in centrally mediated neuropathies of many kinds. Patients are qualified, based on medical necessity guidelines, for each test individually. Many adult patients have existing risk factors, lifestyle choices or personal and family history to be eligible for all three of these tests, given overlapping risk factors and diagnoses.

Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid duplex ultrasound measures blood flow through the carotid arteries inside the neck, which supply blood to the brain. A device called a transducer is passed lightly over your neck, directing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) into the carotid arteries. The sound waves are reflected back at frequencies that correspond to the velocity of blood flow, and are turned into moving pictures of your heart.

Electrocardiography and Holter Monitoring

A holter monitor is used to detect irregular, fast or slow heart rhythms. A patient wears the small, battery-operated recorder for 24 to 72 hours of normal activity. Electrodes attached to the patient’s chest connect to the recorder, which collects EKG information for 24 hours. A cardiovascular specialist later analyzes the full 24 hours of data on a computer and prints the results for your cardiologist to interpret.

Coronary Stent

A stent is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in a narrow artery through a catheter (a long thin tube) to help improve blood flow to your heart. The stent permanently holds the passageway open and helps reduce the rate of re-narrowing of the artery. After the placement of a heart stent, you may need to stay in the hospital for one to five days and temporarily take anticoagulant medication to help prevent blood clots.

Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear Cardiology involves the use of very small amounts of radioactive substances, called tracers, to find blockages in the heart and vascular system. These non-invasive, outpatient procedures provide different information than traditional echocardiography, allowing physicians to see not only the blockages, but to view how the heart is functioning.

These nuclear stress tests may be performed to determine the cause of chest pain or the extent of a blockage; to check the effectiveness of a cardiac procedure, treatment or medication; or to assess safe levels of exercise for a heart patient.

The Good Heart Corporation Main Office
1380 Hwy 193
London, KY 40741