Procedures we perform
Ablation techniques have revolutionized the treatment of many heart arrhythmias and it is now considered the primary therapy for heart arrhythmias. Ablation is a nonsurgical procedure that is done to cure many SVT's or A flutters using radio frequency waves that heat the tip of a catheter. Energy is delivered though a catheter, which reaches a certain temperature. This will result in searing of tissues at the site, which will no longer conduct electrical impulses. An ablation is usually done following a diagnostic study to confirm arrhythmia called an EP.
Many people with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, believe that their pressure is high only in the doctor's office because they have often rushed to get to their appointment or are anxious about their visit. The term for this is "white-coat hypertension". Unfortunately, though, many people do have high blood pressure when outside of the office too, and this can lead to serious consequences. Ambulatory BP monitoring is done with a regular cuff that automatically inflates about every thirty minutes while awake and every 60 minutes while asleep. A small computer is worn at the waist. This tool gives your physician much better insight into the pattern of your blood pressure to be better able to tailor your medications to suit your specific needs.
A biventricular pacemaker is one specific kind of pacemaker that can help heart failure patients feel a lot better. It is called a "biventricular pacemaker" because it "paces" both of the heart's ventricles (pumping chambers) at the same time. The hearts of many patients with heart failure don't have all chambers firing at just the right time to beat effectively. Re-timing the beat of some chambers can make your heart function better, which makes you feel better.
Cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronary angiogram) is a procedure that allows your doctor to "see" how well your heart is functioning. The test involves inserting a long, narrow tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your arm or leg and guiding it to your heart with the aid of a special X-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that X-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers can be created.
A Cardioversion (electrical Cardioversion) converts certain types of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) to normal ones. It accomplishes this with a well-controlled and perfectly timed electrical shock to the chest wall.
This is a non-invasive test that measures the blood flow through the arteries in the neck to the brain. Blockages in these arteries can cause mini strokes and strokes. In a relaxed position, the echo technologist uses an ultrasound probe to follow the blood vessels in your neck, checking both sides for any evidence of blockage. The speed that the blood travels through the arteries correlates with the amount of blockage and can be followed over time to check for progression. The test is completely painless, and patients often fall asleep during testing.
You may have been placed on a blood thinner known as coumadin or warfarin by your doctor for any number of conditions, like atrial fibrillation, or heart valve surgery. The coumadin is important to prevent blood clots from forming and leading to stroke. Coumadin interacts with the proteins in your blood and the dose must be adjusted to keep your blood at an appropriate level to avoid clots, while also avoiding any bleeding. The monitoring and dose adjustment traditionally use venipuncture in the arm for blood samples. We are able to offer many patients coumadin level monitoring (or INR) with only a drop of blood from a tiny finger stick. Adjustments are typically made with you are still here in the office and follow up scheduled at the same time.
A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram is a test that combines an ultrasound study of your heart (echocardiogram) with a medically induced stress test. Dobutamine is a medication to make the heart beat faster and more forcefully. This simulates the effect of exercise in those who are unable to walk on a treadmill. This test helps to identify areas of abnormal blood flow to the heart muscle, caused by blockages in the coronary arteries.
An Echocardiogram is a noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to evaluate how well the heart is working. This test will help the doctor to evaluate the size, pumping strength and function of the heart muscle and valves.
An Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart. EKG is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart (such as a pacemaker).
An Electrophysiology Study (EPS) is a special heart catheterization that studies the heart's electrical system. The test involves inserting long narrow tubes (catheters) into a blood vessel in your leg and guiding them to your heart with the aid of a special X-ray machine. The catheters inserted can record the electrical activity within the heart and are used to help find the cause of a rhythm disturbance.
A common test to evaluate how the heart performs during exercise. This test is often done to diagnose the presence of coronary artery disease, or to administer adequate medical therapy. You may also hear exercise tolerance test called exercise stress test, stress tests, exercise EKG's or treadmill tests.
A test that combines an ultrasound study of the heart (echocardiogram) and an exercise tolerance test. This test helps to identify areas of decreased blood flow to the heart muscle or blockages in the coronary arteries.
Holter monitoring provides a continuous recording of heart rhythm during normal activity. The monitor is usually worn for 24 hours to obtain a recording of a complete day. This test will help the doctor evaluate the type and amount of irregular heartbeats during regular activities, exercise and sleep.
An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a small electronic device placed permanently inside your body. You may be given an ICD if you have had a cardiac arrest or if you have a fast heart rhythm problem that could lead to cardiac arrest. The ICD continuously monitors your heart rhythm (the speed and pattern of your heartbeat) and if the ICD senses a dangerous heart rhythm, it can send out one or more electrical shocks to return the heart to its normal rhythm. Lifelong monitoring is necessary to be sure that your ICD continues working correctly and to check for any further changes in your heart rhythm.
A MIBI Stress Test is a study that combines exercise tolerance testing and nuclear imaging to evaluate blood flow to your heart muscle. MIBI is a low-level isotope used to highlight the heart muscle and evaluate its blood supply. This test is used to diagnose the presence of coronary artery disease. It is usually performed when patients have angina, unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, or known coronary artery disease.
If you've had a pacemaker or ICD implanted by one of our physicians, we will periodically check the function of your device. This is done by placing a magnet on the battery area of the device. The computer does the rest. An amazing amount of information is stored on the pacemaker about how your heart is functioning and this can help to tailor your treatment plan.
A pacemaker is a small, lightweight electronic device that's placed permanently inside your body to treat a slow heart rhythm. A pacemaker keeps track of your heartbeat, and when necessary generates electrical signals similar to the heart's natural signals to keep your heart beating at the right speed. Lifelong, regular checkups help make sure that your pacemaker continues to run smoothly.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is a procedure used to open blocked coronary arteries using angioplasty and stent implantation during a heart attack. The procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory on an emergency basis. Once a blocked coronary artery has been located after a cardiac catheterization, a small wire is advanced into the artery and past the blockage. Then, over this wire, a balloon catheter is advanced and the balloon is inflated. By inflating the balloon, the blockage is opened.
A stent is a small metal mesh tube that is secured to a balloon at the end of a delivery catheter. This may also be implanted if your cardiologist determines that it is needed. Once the stent is placed exactly over the blockage, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent into the wall of the artery. When the balloon is deflated, the stent remains in place permanently. Over time, the lining of the artery wall will grow around the stent as the stent continues to support the vessel.
Elliot Hospital has established relationships with area ambulance services to allow for transmission of electrocardiograms from the ambulance prior to arrival in the Emergency Department. This allows for early activation of the cardiac cath lab team, resulting in quicker transport to the cath lab for this procedure.
After discharge from the hospital, you may need assistance with changes in lifestyle (i.e. smoking cessation, increasing physical activity and improving diet). You will most likely need to take Plavix® for a few months after discharge if a stent has been implanted to prevent artery closure. You may also be prescribed aspirin, cholesterol lowering agents and other medications as determined by your cardiologist. You will require follow-up with the cardiologist to check medication and lifestyle changes.
If there are blockages in the arteries in your body that are causing symptoms ranging from arm or leg pain, high blood pressure or stroke, traditionally this was fixed with a surgical procedure. Now, many of these problems can be repaired with only a minor procedure performed through a tube thinner than a drinking straw, which require no overnight stay and virtually no recovery time. General anesthesia is not needed and only mild sedation is used to keep you relaxed and lightly napping through the procedure. Arteries are typically opened with tiny balloons and small metal tubes called stents are sometimes used to prop open the blocked vessels. Patients typically leave the same afternoon and are immediately pain free. The risks associated with this type of approach are far less than those of surgical arterial repair.
A common cause of chronic leg pain is poor circulation. The medical name for this condition is peripheral artery disease, or PAD. PAD can seriously impair a person's ability to walk and function independently.
Patients with this may experience pain in their legs, hip or buttocks when walking a certain distance. Resting usually relieves the pain but it returns when walking that same distance again. These symptoms are known as intermittent claudication. A person experiencing these symptoms should call their doctor.
Common Risk Factors for PAD include:
- Family history of heart or vascular disease
- History of smoking
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Your doctor can diagnose PAD using different tests including ultrasound, CT scanning or MRA. Additionally, the diagnosis can be made using a test called an arteriogram. An arteriogram is a special x-ray of the arteries. If treatment is needed, here at the Elliot Health System, we can provide a number of non- surgical options, such as angioplasty and vascular stent placement.
Stent implantation is an exciting option for patients with PAD; this is a major improvement in the way that vascular disease is being treated. With a stent, patients can get back on their feet right away, without leg pain and return to a more active and independent life almost immediately, with virtually no post-procedural recovery time.
A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is a test that doctors use to obtain images of the heart from inside the esophagus (swallowing tube). The esophagus lies immediately behind the heart and with this technology; very clear images of the heart can be obtained. This test is used by doctors to visualize structures of the heart not seen by a standard echocardiogram (from the outside chest wall) as well as clarify structures that may be otherwise poorly seen.
An Upright Tilt Table Test (Tilt Test) is used to assess symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness and/or syncope (fainting, passing or "falling" out). It is performed to try to reproduce the symptoms while being monitored. Lightheadedness or syncope can result from a rapid fall in blood pressure, which can occur when moving from a supine (flat) or sitting position to a standing position. It sometimes involves reflex receptors in the heart, which may prevent the heart from beating quickly or forcefully enough to provide sufficient blood flow to the brain. This can result in the symptoms described above. The tilt table test is a procedure that involves monitoring your heart rate and blood pressure in both the supine and upright positions in an effort to uncover this abnormal reflex.
The CICU provides care to inpatients and outpatients with cardiac medical diagnoses. They may require heart rhythm management, pacemaker, AICD implantation or revision, angioplasty, stent insertion, or cardiac diagnostic studies.
Non-Invasive Cardiology at Elliot Hospital offers an extensive variety of cardiac testing. Our skilled and dedicated staff works closely with patients to alleviate fears by providing thorough explanations and supporting patients through their entire procedure.
Our experienced cardiac team is available 24/7 to treat your emergent heart and vascular conditions using the latest in interventional cardiology procedures and treatments.
Please contact us for questions about services available at Elliot Cardiovascular Consultants.