Ambulatory Cardiac Monitoring
The ZIO Service consists of a wireless, wearable ZIO Patch biosensor, which continuously records and stores every heartbeat for three to 14 days. After the device is mailed in, there is a cloud-based analysis of the recorded cardiac rhythms and a final quality assessment review of the data by certified clinical staff. An easy-to-read ZIO Report is created, which is a curated report of findings that includes high quality and clinically-actionable information sent directly to a patient’s physician and can be integrated into a patient’s electronic health record.
This is a test used to find out if the heart rate and rhythm are normal or if heart damage has occurred. It's a graphic record of the heart's electrical impulses. A Holter monitor is used as a 24-hour portable monitor of the electrocardiogram, used to detect heart rhythm problems, ischemia or other problems. Ischemia means inadequate blood flow to the heart muscle. Click here to learn more.
This is a technique that sends sound waves (like sonar) into the chest to rebound from the heart's walls and valves. The recorded waves show the shape, texture and movement of the valves on an echocardiogram. They also show the size of the heart chambers and how well they're working. This technique doesn't hurt and has no risk. It's done in the same way as ultrasound pictures of a fetus are taken in pregnant women. Click here to learn more.
The Holter monitor, invented by Dr. Norman Holter, is a device that records heart rate and heartbeats (rhythm) continuously during a 24-hour period. It is a small tape recorder connected by wires to several patches called electrodes. These patches are put on your chest. The tape recorder is in a small protective box that fits into a case with straps so it can be easily carried on the shoulder or waist. The electrical activity of the heartbeats travels through the electrodes and wires and is recorded on tape. Click here to learn more.
Permanent Pacemakers and Pacemaker Follow-up
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. Permanent pacemakers are surgically implanted. A pacemaker uses batteries to send electrical impulses to the heart to help it pump properly. An electrode is placed next to the heart wall and small electrical charges travel through the wire to the heart. Most pacemakers are demand pacemakers . They have a sensing device, which turns the signal off when the heartbeat is above a certain level, and turns the signal back on when the heartbeat is too slow. Click here to learn more.
The physicians at Cardiovascular Specialists offer a wide range of stress tests, which help a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps doctors know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient. Stress tests can be performed using exercise (generally a treadmill), or by administering a medication to stress the heart.
Stress Test with Nuclear Imaging
A nuclear stress test (also called a thallium stress test) allows the doctor to see pictures of the heart when it is at rest and following stress. Two injections of a small amount of radioactive material are given to create those pictures. The level of radioactivity used is extremely low and has no side effects. Following the first injection, the patient is placed under a special camera, and pictures of the heart are recorded. The camera, which does not produce any radiation, is placed close to the chest, and pictures are taken for approximately 30 minutes. This portion of the test is called the rest study. Following the study, EKG electrodes are placed on the chest to constantly monitor the heart during the stress test. Click here to learn more.
Stress Test with Ultrasound Imaging
Sometimes called a stress echocardiogram, this test helps diagnose heart disease with the help of ultrasound images. Following exercise or other stress to the heart, an instrument that transmits high-frequency sound waves called a transducer is placed on your ribs near the breast bone and directed toward the heart. The transducer picks up the echoes of the sound waves and transmits them as electrical impulses. The echocardiography machine converts these impulses into moving pictures of the heart. Click here to learn more.
Peripheral Vascular Ultrasound
Peripheral vascular disease includes a group of diseases in which blood vessels become restricted or blocked. Doppler ultrasonography is used to diagnose this disease, by detecting the direction, velocity, and turbulence of blood flow. The ultrasound changes sound waves into an image that can be viewed on a monitor during this painless, non-invasive procedure. Click here to learn more.
This is a procedure done on the heart. In it, a doctor inserts a thin plastic tube (catheter) into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. From there it can be advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries. This test can measure blood pressure within the heart and how much oxygen is in the blood. It's also used to get information about the pumping ability of the heart muscle. Click here to learn more.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty
(PTCA, or balloon angioplasty)
PTCA is used to dilate (widen) narrowed arteries. A doctor inserts and advances a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip into the narrowed part of an artery. Then the balloon is inflated, compressing the plaque and enlarging the inner diameter of the blood vessel so blood can flow more easily. Then the balloon is deflated and the catheter removed. Click here to learn more.
A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery that's recently been cleared using angioplasty. The stent is collapsed to a small diameter and put over a balloon catheter. It's then moved into the area of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a scaffold. This holds the artery open. Click here to learn more.
Atherectomy is a procedure to remove the buildup of fat and cholesterol from arteries. Coronary atherectomy removes plaque from the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. It uses a laser catheter, or a rotating shaver. The catheter is inserted into the body and advanced through an artery to the affected area. Click here to learn more.
A type of echocardiogram, in which an ultrasound catheter is placed in the bloodstream during a heart catheterization to visualize blood vessels "from the inside." This technique is particularly helpful in cases of complex narrowing (stenosis), as may occur in the aorta (coarctation) or pulmonary arteries. Click here to learn more.
Electrophysiology (EP) studies are performed to diagnose arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rates, by locating small areas of abnormal heart tissue that interrupt the heart’s normal electrical system. During an EP study, your physician will insert several special long, flexible tubes with wires—called electrode catheters—into your heart. These diagnostic catheters are used to study your arrhythmia by recording the path of your heart’s electrical signals. By determining what is causing the electrical disruptions, your physician can determine whether your arrhythmia should be treated with medication, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a pacemaker, or a cardiac ablation procedure. If your physician decides to implant a device or perform an ablation, he or she may do that while you’re still in the EP lab. Click here to learn more.
A normal heart rhythm is the result of an electrical impulse passing through the heart tissue in one narrow conduction path. Many tachycardias (extremely fast rhythms) are the result of areas of abnormal tissue which cause this electrical system to short circuit. Catheter ablation (or radiofrequency ablation) is based on the idea that by ablating, or destroying, abnormal tissue areas in the heart, its electrical system can be repaired and the heart will return to a normal rhythm. During catheter ablation, your physician will insert several special long, flexible tubes with wires—called electrode catheters—into your heart. Once the doctor determines exactly where abnormal tissue in the heart is located, it can be ablated. The small area of heart tissue under the tip of the ablation catheter is heated by this high-frequency energy, creating a lesion or tiny scar. As a result, this tissue is no longer capable of conducting or sustaining the arrhythmia. Click here to learn more.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device used to treat dangerously fast heart rates that occur in the lower chambers of the heart (the main pumping chambers). The ICD system looks much like a pacemaker. The device is implanted under the skin and attached to one or more leads, which are placed in or on the heart muscle. The ICD detects both bradyarrhythmia (slow heart rates) and tachyarrhythmia (fast heart rates) and delivers electrical therapy to treat these rhythm disorders and restore normal rate and rhythm to the heart. Click here to learn more.