Saint Francis Medical Center's Heart Hospital uses various tests and procedures to diagnose heart-related disorders, including:
An angiography is an X-ray test used to detect diseases of the blood vessels, such as the weakening of the vessel walls and the narrowing or blocking of vessels. The X-ray is taken after the vessels are injected with a substance that enables them to be captured on film.
Blood pressure monitoring
Blood pressure is monitored around the clock.
The computerized tomography (CT) scanner helps identify aortic disease, cardiac masses and pericardial diseases.
The 64-slice CT is a powerful computer-driven scanner that can capture vividly detailed 3-D images in 5-10 seconds (compared to 30-40 seconds for previous CT scanners) and provide unprecedented clarity with full-color, high-resolution imaging for early detection of various diseases and pathologies to more accurately diagnose and treat patients.
Cardiac calcium scoring
Cardiac calcium scoring uses high-speed CT technology to take rapid pictures of the heart and the arteries around it to detect calcium or plaque buildup. Plaque causes hardening of the arteries and can lead to heart attack if left untreated. A scan is assigned a score from 0 (no calcification) to 400 (significant calcium buildup).
An electrocardiogram (EKG) measures the heart's electrical activity to help diagnose abnormal heart conditions. The physician monitors the EKG readings to check for irregularities in the heart rhythm.
Fractional Flow Reserve
This measurement process occurs during the angiography to aid in dedecting a lesion significant enough to need intervention.
During a heart Holter monitor study, a patient wears a monitor (usually for 24 hours) that records electrical activity of the heart. Some monitoring could last up to 30 days. At the same time, a patient also records a diary of his/her activity. Heart care specialists then analyze the data to diagnose any irregularities.
Intravascular ultrasound enables doctors to view coronary anatomy during diagnostic and interventional catheterization to identify structural abnormalities of the vessel wall.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets to look inside the body. Computer-generated pictures can show the heart muscle, identify damage from a heart attack, diagnose certain congenital cardiovascular defects and evaluate disease of larger blood vessels.
A positron emission tomography (P.E.T.) scanner is an imaging test that shows how organs function rather than just how they look. Functional abnormalities usually occur long before structural damages are evident, making early detection of disease possible.
Exercise stress test: Physical exercise is performed (usually on a treadmill) while your heart is monitored.
Chemical stress test: One of three imaging stress tests. If you are unable to perform physical exercise, then your physician may order a chemical stress test. Various chemicals including Adenosine, Dobutamine/Dobutrex, Persantine or Cardiolite may be used to exercise the heart in place of physical exercise.
Nuclear stress test: One of three imagining stress tests. During a nuclear stress test, a radioactive medication is administered. Then a camera is used to take photographs during various stages of stress. Nuclear images show areas of the heart with reduced blood flow.
Stress echocardiogram: One of three imagining stress tests. In a stress echocardiogram, ultrasound images of your heart are taken during various stages of cardiac stress. Depending on your physical condition, you may have an exercise stress test or chemical stress test associated with your stress echocardiogram.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is a special type of imaging procedure that uses a tube with a transducer on the end of it. The tube is passed down your throat into the esophagus to get very clear images of your heart and its structure.
Patients on ventilators are continually monitored.