Innovative surgical techniques and medical breakthroughs are helping people with cardiovascular disease live longer, healthier lives. In addition to providing world-class heart care, King’s Daughters is the region’s leader in providing the most advanced cardiac diagnostic technology, which enables physicians to detect and treat heart disease sooner and more effectively than ever.
A wide variety of cardiac tests and procedures are available to assist the physician in diagnosing and treating your heart problem. The tests and treatments that are used depend on the individual's symptoms and physical condition. Rest assured that the physicians and surgeons of the Kentucky Heart Institute will use the most appropriate technology available to care for you. Most patients can expect to begin with blood tests. From there, a variety of noninvasive and minimally invasive tests may also be ordered:
Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
A measurement of blood pressure at the ankles to check for signs of Peripheral Artery Disease. A painless, non-invasive test, the ABI is calculated by comparing blood pressure readings from the ankles and the arms. Significant variance between the two readings may indicate disease.
CT combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views of cardiac anatomy, including the coronary arteries and great arteries and veins. Cardiac CT is especially useful in determining if fatty deposits or calcium deposits are built up in the coronary arteries.
Carotid Artery Duplex Scan
This is an ultrasound-based test that examines the carotid, or neck, arteries for blockages. If blood cannot flow adequately through these arteries to the brain, a stroke can occur.
High frequency sound waves create graphic images of the heart's structures, pumping action, and direction of blood flow. A hand-held wand placed on the patient’s chest captures images of the heart in motion. An echocardiogram helps physicians closely examine the structure and function of the heart valves, detect the presence of diseases of the heart muscle or heart tumors, and can measure the speed and direction of blood flow through the heart.
EKGs evaluate the electrical activity generated by the heart at rest and with activity. This test is administered to patients who may be at risk because of family history of heart disease, or because they have other risk factors such as being a smoker, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In this test, patches with wires (electrodes) are attached to the chest area to measure the electrical impulses given off by the heart. Impulses are recorded as waves displayed on a monitor or printed on paper.
Electrophysiology (EP) Study
The electrophysiology study (EP study) is a special test conducted in conjunction with a cardiac catheterization. An EP study allows the doctor to study the cardiac electrical system. The electrical system of the heart controls the heart rhythm. Abnormalities in the electrical system are responsible for most heart arrhythmias. Electrophysiology is a subspecialty of cardiology.
See Holter Monitoring.
This monitor is a portable device worn by a patient over a period of 24 to 72 hours that records a continuous EKG. This test can help detect intermittent heart rhythm irregularities that may not show up during a normal EKG.
An ICD is an electronic device which monitors heart rate and rhythm. If it detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers a signal to the heart -- causing the heart to assume normal rhythm.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cardiac
MRI uses large magnets and radio-frequency waves to produce high quality images of the entire cardiovascular system. Because the test captures images of heart while it is beating, Cardiac MRI can clearly identify areas of the heart that are not receiving adequate blood supply from coronary arteries, or are damaged as a result of a heart attack.
Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI)
The most common cardiac nuclear medicine procedure, this test shows blood-flow patterns to the heart walls. The test is important for evaluating the presence of suspected or known coronary artery blockages as well as measuring the effects of previous injury from a heart attack. This test is often used for people who are unable to perform an exercise stress test on a treadmill.
This is a method of producing images by detecting radiation from different parts of the body. A radioactive tracer material is injected into a vein or given by mouth. Cardiac nuclear medicine tests often are performed on individuals with chest pain brought on by exertion or unexplained causes.
This test uses electrodes attached to the chest area to measure heart function while a patient is exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike.
Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)
TEE is an ultrasound procedure involving the placement of the image transmitter into the patient’s throat. The test enables the physician to directly view the heart's valves and chambers without interference from the ribs or lungs.
Ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of your organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body. The high-frequency sound waves are transmitted to the area of interest and the returning echoes recorded.