Heart Diagnosis Services
An accurate diagnosis is the first step in treating any heart abnormality or disease. As a specialty hospital, Banner Heart Hospital has dedicated professionals trained to do just that. The hospital offers several methods of diagnosis. The following are some of the most common treatment methods.
For each method there are several different approaches. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what specific testing you need.
A diagnostic cardiac catheterization is a special study of the heart which allows the physician to see the chambers, valves or coronary arteries. A doctor guides a thin plastic tube or catheter through an artery or vein in the arm or groin. This allows the doctor to take a better look at the patient’s heart and blood vessels.
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan)
The CT scanner creates 3-dimensional images of the heart and the coronary arteries in just five heartbeats, allowing cardiologists to look at the heart's action with unprecedented clarity and quality.
During an echocardiogram, also called an echo, a technician uses a painless technique to send sound waves into the patient’s chest. This produces a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.
Also called EKG, an electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity in a heartbeat. Patients can be hooked to electrodes or wear a heart monitor (a small box that weighs less than one pound). The monitoring devices send signals to a technician that observes the heart rate and rhythm.
Nuclear medicine is a unique type of medical imaging that uses very small and safe amounts of radioactive materials in conjunction with a specialized camera to diagnose and treat disease. Heart scans are most often used to image blood flow to, and the function of, the heart.
Nuclear Stress Testing
In addition to measuring your heart's electrical activity during stress, a nuclear study provides pictures of your heart. This nuclear study has 2 parts: a scan of your heart at rest and a scan of your heart under stress. This information will help us determine if any of the coronary arteries are blocked. To take the scan, we will give you a small amount of weak radioactive isotope through your IV. On a scan, it will show which areas of your heart muscle are receiving blood. The isotope leaves the body through the kidneys and should be completely gone within 24 to 48 hours. If you are not on a fluid restriction, drinking water and other fluids can help your body clean out the isotope.
Transesophogeal Echocardiography (TEE)
Like a routine echocardiogram, TEE uses ultrasound to create images. TEE images, however, are clearer because they are taken with a scope from inside your body. Your doctor may order a TEE if the routine echocardiogram cannot answer all of the questions about your heart's structure and function. TEE involves passing a special ultrasound scope through your mouth into your food pipe (esophagus) to take pictures. We will give you medication to help you relax and keep you comfortable during your TEE.
Treadmill Stress Testing
Stress/exercise testing involves studying the heart while under maximum cardiac stress. It allows a technician to measure the heart's efficiency when subjected to predetermined exercise or cardiac medications. Patients may walk on a treadmill or lie still under a camera depending on how the physician wants to see their heart function.