Being worried about your heart’s health can be frightening. But you can rest assure we have the region’s top cardiologists. They have exceptional training and years of hands-on expertise that result in less discomfort for patients. Knowledge, training and compassion are the qualities that set our cardiologists apart from others and allow you to receive the best care available.
There are several tests our cardiologists are trained in that can be administered to determine your heart’s health. Many can be done right in the office for your convenience.
If you are experiencing heart palpitations – a racing or fluttering sensation of the heart – more than likely you will be given a holter monitor to wear for 24 to 48 hours. The monitor records the beating of your heart. Electrodes will be attached to your chest and will feed the rhythm of your heart into the monitor.
This is a painless test and most patients say it’s easy to sleep with the monitor since it’s not cumbersome. The cardiologist will read the results of the test and determine if any treatment is required. Sometimes the solution is as simple as cutting back on caffeine.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a basic screening to determine if there are any problems with your heart and arteries. An EKG is typically used in conjunction with an echo test. It is a painless test that typically only takes a few minutes.
During an EKG, patients are asked to lie down while a dozen small, sticky patches – called electrodes – are attached to your chest, arms and legs. While you lay still, your heart’s electrical current is recorded. The cardiologist can determine your heart’s pumping pattern and if your heart is beating too fast, too slow or irregularly.
An echocardiogram (echo) is an imaging test that uses harmless sound waves to check your heart. Echo testing shows how well your heart muscle and valves are working. It also shows how large your heart is.
During an echo test, a transducer – a device that looks like a small rod – is used to bounce sound waves off your heart. A computer changes the sound waves into images that are seen on the monitor. The images help the cardiologist evaluate your heart and plan any treatment or other tests that may be needed.
An echo test is painless and very safe.
An exercise stress test, also called stress echocardiography, records your heartbeat while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. This test helps cardiologists evaluate how well your heart and blood vessels are working. It also measures the strength of your heart after a heart attack or surgery.
Exercise stress tests are not about your athletic ability. They are safe. Your heartbeat and blood pressure are monitored during and after the test.
A nuclear stress test is an effective way to evaluate the blood flow through your heart and arteries. When you arrive for the test, you will be given an IV in your arm and a small amount of radioactive dye will be injected through your vein. Electrodes that feed into an electrocardiogram machine will be attached to your chest, arms and legs tracking the electrical impulse of your heart. Pictures of your heart will be taken at rest while you are lying down.
If you are capable of exercise, you will walk on a treadmill that will gradually increase in speed and inclination. If you are unable to exercise, you will be given medicine that will stimulate your heart as if it were under exertion. Once you have completed the exercise or taken the medication, you will lie down and another small dose of dye will be given to you through the IV. More images of your heart will be taken which reveal its level of functionality.
The radioactive dye shows any blockages which will confirm to your cardiologist whether or not you have coronary heart disease. The result also helps the doctor determine the next best steps regarding your heart’s health. The test takes about three to four hours with periods of rest during the test.
A nuclear stress test is very safe. You may be asked to not eat or drink a few hours before the test and you will be given instructions about taking any prescription medications. It’s also important to not have any caffeine for 12 hours before the test. After the test, you can resume normal activity. It takes a little while for the dye to leave your system. Drinking water will help flush it out.
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