Sacred Heart Regional Heart & Vascular Institute
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Cardiac Diagnostics

Finding the Problem: Diagnosing Heart and Vascular Disease

Sacred Heart Regional Heart and Vascular Institute provides state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled physicians and technicians who are experienced in diagnosing heart and vascular disease. Diagnosing heart and vascular disease is accomplished through a variety of tests available in the non-invasive area of the Heart and Vascular Institute.

Our capabilities include:

Chest x-ray - A chest x-ray takes a picture of your heart and lungs. Usually two views are taken - one from the front and one from the side. It can be used in the diagnosis of a variety of heart and lung problems.

Computed Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) Scan - This procedure (also called computerized axial tomography, CT scan or CAT scan) uses x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional or three-dimensional images of the body or head. It can be used in the diagnosis of different cancers, stroke or brain injury. Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) is a type of CAT scan that can be used in the diagnosis of heart disease risk.A multislice CT angiogram is a type of angiogram that gives a 3D picture of the heart.

Duplex Doppler Ultrasound - This is a diagnostic imaging technique in which an image of an artery can be formed by bouncing sound waves off the moving blood in the artery and measuring the frequency changes of the echoes. It can be used to diagnose the presence of blood clots or blood flow problems in arteries or veins.

Echocardiogram - a test during which high frequency sound waves are transmitted into the chest and reflected back to the ultrasound computer. The computer then creates an image of the heart as it beats and displays it on a monitor for viewing and recording. By combining the standard treadmill test with a two dimensional echocardiography test, a sensitive method of diagnosing coronary artery disease has evolved.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)  - is a graphic record of the electrical activity of the heart as it contracts and rests. It can be used in the diagnosis of a number of heart conditions including arrhythmias, and heart attack.

Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) - This test can be used to identify and measure calcium buildup in and around the coronary arteries. Calcium build-ups can indicate an increased risk of heart disease.

Event Monitor - An event monitor is a device used by a patient for a 30-day period, to provide an EKG recording of the heart's rhythm. It can be activated when the patient feels chest pain, dizziness or an irregular heartbeat coming on and can be used in the diagnosis of arrhythmias.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) - This is a type of imaging that measures increases in blood flow within the brain. It can be used in the diagnosis of a number of brain disorders such as cancer and stroke.

Holter Monitor - A Holter monitor is a device worn by a patient for a continuous period of time (usually 24-48 hours) to provide an EKG recording of the heart's rhythm during the time it is worn. It can be used in the diagnosis of arrhythmias.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) - This is an imaging technique involving injection of a contrast dye into a blood vessel and using magnetic resonance techniques to create an image of the flowing blood through the vessel; it can be used in the diagnosis of heart disorders, stroke, blood vessel disorders and to detect stenosis of the brain arteries inside the skull.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan - This is a type of imaging involving the use of magnetic fields to look inside the body and head, and detect subtle changes in the water content of tissues. MRI can be used in the diagnosis of cancer, as well as to identify damage from a heart attack, diagnose certain congenital heart defects, evaluate blood vessel problems, and aid in the evaluation of stroke damage.

Multislice CT angiogram - Uses multiple detectors to take a 3-D picture of the heart. Before these multiple detector machines, CT scans did not work well on the heart because the heart beats and movement ruins the CT picture.

Nuclear Medicine - Nuclear medicine involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to help evaluate how the heart is functioning and how much of the heart has been damaged.

Pediatric Cardiology - Sacred Heart, in association with the pediatric cardiologists at Nemours Children's Clinic, also provides complete pediatric cardiology services. We can provide comprehensive cardiac evaluation for children, including electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram and pediatric stress test.

Stress Test - which may enable the doctor to estimate the severity of the blockages in the coronary arteries. Likewise, if you have just undergone balloon angioplasty or bypass surgery, a stress test helps the doctors monitor the success of the procedure as well as determine an appropriate rehabilitation program for you. The stress test involves performing a simple exercise, usually walking on a treadmill, while your body is monitored using several different devices. These devices include an electrocardiograoph machine, ultrasound, and a blood pressure machine.

Tilt Table Test - A tilt table test can be used to diagnose patients with unexplained fainting spells called syncope. During the test, heart rate, blood pressure or other measurements can be made while the patient lies on a table which is tilted so he or she can be monitored in different positions from lying down to standing upright.

Transesophageal Echocardiography - where an ultrasound imaging device is inserted through the mouth and passed into the esophagus. Because the heart and esophagus are close together and there are no bony structures between, this test can provide a clearer image of the heart.

The Heart and Vascular Institute also performs diagnostic cardiac catheterization in which the cardiologist guides a catheter through an artery or vein in the leg or arm and into the coronary arteries of the heart. The purpose of this test is to measure the pumping ability of the heart and view the degree to which the arteries are narrowed or blocked.

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