At The Heart Clinic we specialize in a variety of cardiovascular services.
Stress testing provides information about how your heart works during physical stress. Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working hard and beating fast.
During stress testing, you exercise (walk or run on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike) to make your heart work hard and beat fast. Tests are done on your heart while you exercise.
You might have arthritis or another medical problem that prevents you from exercising during a stress test. If so, your doctor may give you medicine to make your heart work hard, as it would during exercise. This is called a pharmacological (FAR-ma-ko-LOJ-ih-kal) stress test.
Echocardiogram (EK-o-kar-de-OG-ra-fee), or echo, is a painless test that uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart.
The test gives your doctor information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart’s chambers and valves are working. Echo also can be done to detect heart problems in infants and children.
The test also can identify areas of heart muscle that aren’t contracting normally due to poor blood flow or injury from a previous heart attack. In addition, a type of echo called Doppler ultrasound shows how well blood flows through the chambers and valves of your heart.
Echo can detect possible blood clots inside the heart, fluid buildup in the pericardium (the sac around the heart), and problems with the aorta. The aorta is the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body.
Your doctor may recommend echocardiography (echo) if you have signs and symptoms of heart problems. For example, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs can be due to weakness of the heart (heart failure), which can be seen on an echocardiogram.
The Heart Clinic, a member of the Nuclear Medicine Accreditation Program through the American College of Radiology, uses many of the nuclear cardiology techniques to check for the presence of heart disease and to provide the best treatments for persons with established heart disease.
Nuclear as well as standard stress testing is available to diagnose abnormalities of blood flow to the heart muscle, evaluate physical conditioning, and other exertion induced symptoms. The nuclear technique can also provide information regarding any heart muscle weakness and also distinguish between normal heart muscle, live heart muscle with reduced blood flow, and damaged heart muscle.
Coronary & Peripheral
Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is diagnosed based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and results from tests.
P.A.D. often is diagnosed after symptoms are reported. An accurate diagnosis is important, because people who have P.A.D. are at increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, stroke, and transient ischemic attack (“mini-stroke”). If you have P.A.D., your doctor also may want to look for signs of these conditions.
Angiography & Stenting
Coronary angioplasty (AN-jee-oh-plas-tee) is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) arteries. The procedure improves blood flow to the heart muscle.
Over time, a fatty substance called plaque (plak) can build up in your arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. This condition is called atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-skler-O-sis).
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body. When atherosclerosis affects the coronary arteries, the condition is called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease.
Angioplasty can restore blood flow to the heart if the coronary arteries have become narrowed or blocked because of CHD.
Angioplasty is a common medical procedure. It may be used to: Improve symptoms of CHD, such as angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) and shortness of breath. (Angina is chest pain or discomfort.)
Reduce damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack. A heart attack occurs if blood flow through a coronary artery is completely blocked. The blockage usually is due to a blood clot that forms on the surface of plaque. During angioplasty, a small balloon is expanded inside the coronary artery to relieve the blockage.
Reduce the risk of death in some patients.
Angioplasty is done on more than 1 million people a year in the United States. Serious complications don’t occur often. However, they can happen no matter how careful your doctor is or how well he or she does the procedure.
Research on angioplasty is ongoing to make it safer and more effective, to prevent treated arteries from narrowing again, and to make the procedure an option for more people.
A stent is a small mesh tube that’s used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries in the body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of your body.
You may have a stent placed in an artery as part of a procedure called angioplasty (AN-jee-oh-plas-tee). Angioplasty restores blood flow through narrowed or blocked arteries. Stents help prevent the arteries from becoming narrowed or blocked again in the months or years after angioplasty.
You also may have a stent placed in a weakened artery to improve blood flow and to help prevent the artery from bursting.
Stents usually are made of metal mesh, but sometimes they’re made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries.
Some stents are coated with medicines that are slowly and continuously released into the artery. These stents are called drug-eluting stents. The medicines help prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.
Congestive Heart Failure
The purpose of the heart is to pump blood to the body in order to nourish it. Heart failure doesn't mean that the heart has stopped working, but that it just isn't able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. This may happen when the heart muscle itself is weaker than normal or when there is a defect in the heart that prevents blood from getting out into the circulation.
When the heart does not circulate blood normally, the kidneys receive less blood and filter less fluid out of the circulation into the urine. The extra fluid in the circulation builds up in the lungs, the liver, around the eyes, and sometimes in the legs. This is called fluid "congestion" and for this reason doctors call this "congestive heart failure"
Cardiac pacemakers may be inserted into patients with symptoms resulting from excessively slow heart rates or blocked electrical signals in the heart. Pacemakers correct this problem by electronically stimulating the heart muscle to contract at a normal heart rate. Our practice implants pacemakers and provides for follow-up of patients with pacemakers.
Cardiac defibrillators are placed into people at risk for life-threatening rhythm disturbances. These devices may initially attempt to pace the heart out of the life- threatening rhythm disturbance or if needed, shock the heart back to a normal rhythm. Some patients are candidates to receive a defibrillator (or pacemakers) that can actually strengthen a weak heart. Our practice arranges implants and provides follow-up for patients with defibrillators. Heart rhythm disturbances can be evaluated by monitoring the rhythm of a patient for 24 to 48 hours by a holter monitor or for several weeks by a cardiac event recorder.
Pacemakers & Defibrillator Services
- Cardiac pacemaker implant
- Pacemaker testing and reprogramming
- Implantable cardiac defibrillator
- Implantable cardiac testing and reprogramming
- Biventricular pacing
Holter and event monitors are medical devices that record the heart’s electrical activity. Doctors most often use these monitors to diagnose arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs).
Arrhythmias are problems with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
Holter and event monitors also are used to detect silent myocardial ischemia (is-KE-me-ah). In this condition, not enough oxygen-rich blood reaches the heart muscle. “Silent” means that no symptoms occur.
These monitors also can check whether treatments for arrhythmia and silent myocardial ischemia are working.