ABI (Ankle Brachial Index)
Also called ABI, is a comparison of blood pressures of the arms and ankles. May involve a short walk on the treadmill, followed by an ultrasound to evaluate blood flow in the legs
A cardiac calcium score is a screening tool that measures how much calcified plaque is present in the heart arteries of an individual. There is a direct correlation between the amount of calcium in these arteries and the likelihood of a future cardiac event such as heart attack or stroke.
Cardiac CT Angiography and Peripheral CT Angiography are forms of CardioVascular CT. The GE VCT© scanner actually takes 64 credit card thin pictures of the heart and/or vascular system in a single rotation and combines them to form a three-dimensional view for your physician to analyze. An important issue with radiology today is how to reduce the radiation dose during CT examinations without compromising the image quality. Our GE 64 slice scanner is equipped with SnapShot Pulse for Cardiac Imaging using a prospective gating technique to reduce radiation dose to less than 5mSv (70%-80% less than typical helical scanning).
Because of the accuracy and speed of current CT equipment, the scanner effectively freezes the motion of the heart, helping to ensure the most accurate representation ever viewed of your heart’s anatomy and vascular system. Physicians are able to see, with clarity, developing or total blockages in the arteries leading to the heart or other areas of the body.
The following are appropriate candidates for Cardiac CT Angiography:
- Patients with chest pain, usually atypical or chronic
- Patients with a stress test suspected to be a false positive
- Patients with an equivocal nuclear stress test
- Patients with atrial fibrillation who require pulmonary vein assessment, before and after radiofrequency
- Patients requiring a coronary vein assessment before placing a biventricular pacemaker
- Patients with known or suspected anomalous coronary arteries
- Patients who are not candidates for conventional angiography
- A Cardiac CT may also be used to assist in the diagnosis and management of patients with high cardiovascular risks.
An ultrasound to evaluate blood vessels in the neck that lead to the brain.
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
A test that records your resting heart rhythm and is used to help physicians diagnose arrhythmias.
Conducted to identify the location of your heart’s electrical pathways. Electrical wires are inserted into a catheter and guided through blood vessels in your arm or leg to your heart. While inside the chambers of the heart, the wires record abnormal impulses or heartbeats. Once the abnormality is discovered, it may be treated with radiofrequency catheter ablation.
Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation
A procedure used to treat some types of rapid heart beating. A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided to the area of heart muscle where there’s an extra pathway and a mild, painless radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the pathway. This causes heart muscle cells in a very small area to die, which stops the area from conducting the extra impulses that causes the heart to beat too rapidly.
Pacemaker Implantation and Management
Implantation of a small, battery-operated device that helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm.
Implantable Defibrillator Placement and Management
An ICD is a small electronic device, about the size of a deck of cards , that is placed inside the body. It constantly monitors your heart rhythm. If it senses a dangerous rapid heart rhythm, it delivers one or more pulses or shocks to the heart and restores a more normal rhythm.
Exercise Stress Test
Also known as a treadmill test, in which EKG and blood pressure readings are monitored while walking on a treadmill.
There are several advantages that CT has over traditional x-rays. First, CT completely eliminates the superimposition of images of structures outside the area of interest. Second, because of the inherent high contrast resolution of CT, differences between tissues that differ in physical density by less than 1% can be distinguished. Finally, data from a single CT imaging procedure consisting of either multiple contiguous or one helical scan can be viewed as images in the axial, coronal, or sagittal planes, depending on the diagnostic task. This is referred to as multi planar reformatted imaging.
Nuclear Stress Test
A nuclear stress test produces images of the heart at work (during exercise) and at rest. During a test, you are given an injection of a small dose of a harmless radioactive tracer. Then you spend time exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle and then resting. A specialized camera (called a “gamma camera”) detects the tracer as it passes through the chambers of your heart, creating the pictures. The pictures may reveal problems in heart muscle and blood vessels, especially when the images of the heart at work and at rest are compared.
The CardioVascular CT shows signs of disease in the heart and vascular system, giving physicians precise information about:
- The presence of atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in vessels of the heart or body)
- The quality of the plaque and its components, including: lipids, calcium, fibrous tissue, blood and other material
- The presence and amount of calcium build-up in the vessels
- The cause of atypical chest pain, particularly in cases where symptoms are nonspecific or are not clearly cardiac in origin.
The following are appropriate candidates for Peripheral CT Angiography:
- Patients who require vascular assessment prior to placing stents in the abdomen, or other areas of the body
- Symptomatic patients, when suspicion of pulmonary embolism is present
- Patients with an abnormal Doppler study of the peripheral arteries
- Patients with leg pain (related to vascular disease)
Vascular ultrasound is the general term for a non-invasive painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to image blood vessels including arteries and veins.
A lower extremity venous ultrasound is typically performed if a clot in the vein (deep venous thrombosis or DVT) is suspected. The veins in the legs are compresses and the blood flow is assessed to make sure the vein is not clogged. This test is also used to look for chronic venous insufficiency, or leaky valves in the veins which may cause swelling or edema.
A lower extremity arterial ultrasound may be performed in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), particularly for planning an endovascular procedure or surgery. It is also used after the procedure to monitor stents and grafts for signs of the blockage returning (“restenosis”). If a hematoma develops after a catheterization procedure, arterial ultrasound is also used to check the integrity of the arteries and veins in the groin.
Carotid imaging- ultrasound of the carotid arteries to identify or rule out carotid artery disease
Renal imaging- ultrasound of the arteries to the kidney to evaluate if there are significant blockages in those arteries that could cause kidney failure or severe hypertension
Patients should have nothing to eat or drink for 12 hours prior to renal duplex testing.
Abdominal imaging- for identification and evaluation of aneurysmal disease of the aorta and its branches
Patients should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight.