Echocardiography is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of your heart. This test provides your physician with information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart’s chambers and valves are working. Your physician may recommend echocardiography if you’re suffering from signs and symptoms that heart problems could cause.
The test can be used to confirm a diagnosis, determine the status of an existing problem, or help guide treatment. There are different types of echocardiography. Transthoracic and stress echocardiographies are standard types of the test. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is used if the standard tests don’t produce clear results. Echocardiography is performed right in our office. The test usually takes up to 1 hour.
Carotid ultrasound is a painless and harmless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the insides of the two large arteries in your neck. These arteries, called carotid arteries, supply your brain with oxygen-rich blood. You have one carotid artery on each side of your neck. Carotid ultrasound shows whether a substance called plaque has narrowed your carotid arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Plaque builds up on the insides of your arteries as you age. This condition is called carotid artery disease.
You have two common carotid arteries—one on each side of your neck—that divide into internal and external carotid arteries. Too much plaque in a carotid artery can cause a stroke. The plaque can slow down or block the flow of blood through the artery, allowing a blood clot to form. A piece of the blood clot can break off and get stuck in the artery, blocking blood flow to the brain. This is what causes a stroke. A standard carotid ultrasound shows the structure of your carotid arteries. Your carotid ultrasound test may include a Doppler ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound is a special test that shows the movement of blood through your blood vessels. Your doctor often will need results from both types of ultrasound to fully assess whether there’s a problem with blood flow through your carotid arteries.
This procedure images the kidneys and renal arteries. Using high frequency sounds, a renal ultrasound produces an image of the renal system including your kidneys, bladder, and ureters.
A Doppler ultrasound gives additional information about blood supply to your kidneys. During this procedure, your cardiologist can locate masses, stones, cysts and other obstructions that can form in the kidneys. The size and shape of the kidneys and blood flow through the renal arteries and veins can also be evaluated during this procedure.
This procedure evaluates the condition of your abdominal aorta and associated vessels. An ultrasound transmits high frequency sound through the skin into the body. Soft structures (including organs and blood vessels) reflect the sound back to the transducer on the surface of your skin. Software translates the reflected sound into an image of the organs within your abdomen.
Using abdominal ultrasound, a variety of conditions can be more easily diagnosed. This procedure also helps your cardiologist determine the blood supply to the vital organs in your abdomen, helping detect blockages, narrowing, and aneurysms of these major blood vessels. Your physician or cardiologist may want you to have an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate abdominal pains, look for causes of unusual laboratory results, view enlarged organs found or suspected during a physical exam, look for stones in the kidney or gallbladder and/or locate and diagnose unusual sounds made by bloods passing through blood vessels.
Vascular ultrasound exams (Doppler studies) are intended primarily to look at blood vessels in various parts of your body. Symptoms of stroke can sometimes be explained by the discovery of a narrowing of one or more of the carotid arteries in your neck. Narrowing of the arteries directly leading to the brain may be spotted by ultrasound. Other arteries can be evaluated in the ultrasound laboratory, including superficial blood vessels in the arms and legs. After an arterial bypass procedure, the openness, or “patency” of an arterial bypass graft can be directly or indirectly assessed with ultrasound.
Sometimes ultrasounds can detect narrowing of deeper vessels in the abdomen, including your renal arteries (supplying the kidneys) and the superior mesenteric artery (supplying the intestines). Ultrasound is a very sensitive and non-invasive way to check the veins in the legs, to rule out the possibility of clots. Clots in leg veins can migrate centrally and lodge in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and need to be treated.
THE BASICS – A nuclear stress test (myocardial perfusion scan) is a commonly performed diagnostic heart test. During nuclear stress testing, a miniscule amount of a radioactive isotope is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The resulting distribution of the isotope in the heart muscle is recorded by a camera soon after the patient exercises. The resulting three-dimensional images of the heart show your physician precisely where the heart muscle may not be receiving enough blood and oxygen.
THE TEST – Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the accumulation of plaque in a coronary artery in sufficient supplies to obstruct blood flow. Your Physician can diagnose CHD through a nuclear stress test. During the test, a small dosage of a radioactive isotope is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The radioisotope (tracer) is carried through the bloodstream and into the myocardium (heart muscle). Soon after exercising, a special camera senses the radioactivity of the tracer and constructs an image of the patient’s heart. The parts of the heart muscle that receive normal blood flow receive larger amounts of tracer and appear brighter than areas that have inadequate blood flow.
THE RESULTS – The results of a nuclear stress test typically fall into three broad categories:
2. Blood flow defects during exercise, but not at rest.
3. Blood flow defects during exercise and rest.
Your physician will then review the patient’s results and plan a course of treatment.
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Cardiovascular Services, LLC performs office-based consultations and procedures to treat heavy, tired, swollen legs, varicose and spider veins. These procedures alleviate leg discomfort, diminish swelling, address cosmetic concerns and improve quality of life.