Services offered at Lexington Heart Specialists
A Doppler ultrasound captures images of the movement of blood through arteries to determine how well the blood is flowing. Arterial duplex helps detect peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
Carotid duplex is a diagnostic procedure that uses ultrasound to detect blood flow problems in the carotid arteries, which are located in the neck and send blood to the brain. Blood clots and narrowed arteries are among the conditions that can be diagnosed through a carotid duplex. This test is commonly performed on patients who recently had a stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIA).
During the carotid duplex procedure, a gel is applied to the skin, and a handheld machine known as a transducer is lightly run across the neck, along the carotid arteries. The transducer sends sound waves through the neck which bounce across the blood vessels, forming images of their arrangement.
Echocardiography examines the heart by creating images out of sound waves. These images help to determine the size and shape of the heart, as well as how well the different components are functioning. An echocardiogram can be used to examine:
- The size of the heart
- he strength of the heart muscles
- Heart valve malfunctions
- Heart structure abnormalities
- Problems in the aorta
- Blood clots or tumors
The results of the test are often used to diagnose high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, aneurysms or other heart conditions.
Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG)
EKG is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed over the skin. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle’s electrophysiologic pattern of depolarizing and repolarizing during each heartbeat. It is very commonly performed to detect any cardiac problems.
The event recorder is a battery-powered portable instrument used to monitor and record the heart’s electrical activity (ECG) when the patient is experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, palpitations, and chest pain. These monitors can be worn up to 30 days.
Holter or event monitoring is a tracing technique used for patients whose heart conditions cannot be properly diagnosed through an EKG or other typical tests. These medical devices record the electrical activity of the heart and are often used to diagnose arrhythmias or myocardial ischemia, conditions that may or may not cause symptoms.
Since an EKG only lasts for a few minutes, it may not detect any heart abnormalities if they are not present at that time. The Holter monitor is worn for 12 or 24 hours and records the heart’s activity throughout that time. This helps to detect arrhythmias that may only occur at certain times, such as after physical exertion.
Nuclear Stress Test
A typical stress test involves the patient exercising on a treadmill while electrodes attached to the body record the heart’s response to physical activity. During a nuclear stress test, a radioactive substance is injected into the bloodstream. A special scanner is used to detect this substance and capture images of the heart muscle as the patient exercises. A nuclear stress test may be effective in determining the cause of chest pain, checking the prognosis of patients after a heart attack and determining the effectiveness of previous procedures.
A stress echo allows the physician to see how your heart muscle works both at rest and under stress. The patient is hooked up to an EKG monitor for the duration of the test. He or she has echo imaging done at rest, and then completes the stress portion of the test on the treadmill, followed by another set of echo images. Indications include evaluation for CAD.
A venous duplex is an advanced ultrasound procedure performed to evaluate the blood flowing through the arms or legs in patients experiencing pain, swelling or bulging veins within the extremities. During this exam, a transducer will be moved across the skin of the targeted area to transmit sound waves that are then converted into images of the blood vessels. The results of a duplex procedure can be used to diagnose deep vein thrombosis, blood clots or chronic venous insufficiency.
Services offered at Baptist Health Lexington
Abdominal Aortogram with Runoff (AARO)
The purpose of an abdominal aortogram is to find areas in your blood vessels that might be narrowed or closed, leading to symptoms like leg pain. The doctor will thread a narrow, flexible plastic tube, called a catheter, through the arteries suspected of having the blockage. Physicians can then perform diagnostic tests and determine a course of treatment, such as angioplasty.
Cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose and treat several cardiovascular conditions. A long thin tube is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Physicians can then perform diagnostic tests and determine a course of treatment, such as coronary angioplasty. Most patients are awake during cardiac catheterization, but given medications to help to relax. Recovery time for a cardiac catheterization is quick, and the procedure has a low risk of complications.
Electrical Cardioversion (ECV/DCCV)
Cardioversion is a medical procedure that restores a normal heart rhythm in people with certain types of arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. It is typically done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. You are given a sedative to make you comfortable for the procedure and you should be able to go home on the same day.
An implantable loop recorder is a heart recording device that is implanted in the body underneath the chest skin. It has several uses. The most common ones include looking for causes of fainting, palpitations, very fast or slow heartbeats, and hidden rhythms that can cause strokes. The machine works as an electrocardiogram (ECG), continuously picking up electrical signal from your heart. This can help find abnormal heart rhythms that can cause a number of problems such as fainting.
A pacemaker can be used to correct a slow or irregular heartbeat, or to treat congestive heart failure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or fainting spells. It is a small device—about the size of a pocket watch—that sends electrical impulses to the heart to maintain a normal heart rate and rhythm. During a minor surgical procedure that typically lasts less than three hours, a pacemaker is implanted just under the skin of the chest. The device includes leads and a pulse generator that help maintain a healthy heartbeat. The Physician programs the device with the minimum heart rate. When the rate drops below this number, the pacemaker fires an electrical impulse that passes through the lead to the heart muscle, causing it to contract and create a heartbeat.
An angiogram, also called an arteriogram, is an X-ray image of the blood vessels. It is performed to evaluate various vascular conditions, such as an aneurysm (ballooning of a blood vessel), stenosis (narrowing of a blood vessel), or blockages.
A renal angiogram evaluates the blood flow to the kidneys.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
A transesophageal echocardiogram or TEE is an alternative way to perform an echocardiogram, in which a specialized probe is inserted into the patient’s esophagus and creates a visual image of the heart. This procedure is also used to determine shape and size of the heart, as well as functionality. However, unlike regular echocardiograms, TEEs are able to view certain structures more clearly, including the aorta, pulmonary artery, heart valves and coronary arteries. TEEs are also highly sensitive to detecting blood clots in the left atrium.
A tilt table test is performed to determine the cause of unexplained fainting by measuring heart rate and blood pressure in response to changes in position. During this test, the patient lies flat on a table which is then tilted to change the position of the body. Your doctor may recommend this test if fainting is believed to be caused by an abnormal nervous system reaction, drop in blood pressure, or arrhythmia. Patients can return to their regular activities immediately after this test.