An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to picture or visualize the heart chambers, the thickness of the muscle wall, the heart valves, and major blood vessels located near the heart. This is a noninvasive test that can diagnose heart failure, changes from hypertension, murmurs, and causes of shortness of breath or chest pain. The study takes about 20 minutes to perform. Any clothing may be worn and there is no restriction on diet before the test. Learn more about echocardiograms.
A stress echocardiogram combines a treadmill stress test with an echocardiogram to increase the diagnostic yield of detecting coronary artery disease. Baseline ultrasound images are taken followed by the patient exercising on the treadmill. Immediately after the treadmill portion is over, post exercise images are obtained. Dr. Cynthia assess all the data and interprets the findings. Preparations involve not eating or drinking for three hours prior to the procedure, stopping specific heart medications (beta blockers, certain calcium channel blockers, digoxin) prior to the test, wearing comfortable clothing and shoes that are suitable for exercise. A patient should allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the entire test, including the preparation, echo imaging and stress test. Learn more about stress echocardiography.
Cardiac Nuclear Imaging
This testing is offered to patients who are unable to participate in a standard treadmill exercise test, because of disability or infirmity. The patient receives a very small amount of a radioactive isotope through injection. This isotope travels to the heart and into the cardiac muscle through the coronary arteries. The entire testing process is roughly four hours, during which time a special “gamma” camera is used to pick up the glow from the isotope and can help to identify a lack of blood flow to the heart. This isotope is eliminated from the body within approximately 12 hours and is as safe as a standard x-ray. Preparations involve no eating or drinking after 12pm the night before the test. Regular medication, including blood pressure medications should be taken. Diabetics should not take their insulin or oral medication, but should bring the medicines with them. Learn more about cardiac nuclear medicine.
Holter monitoring is used to determine how the heart responds to normal activity and to determine if symptoms (palpitations, dizziness, fainting) correlate with any abnormalities. Abnormal results may include various arrhythmias. This monitoring device provides a continuous recording of heart rhythm during normal activity and is usually worn for 24 hours. Electrical signals from the heart are picked up by five small pads (electrodes) attached to the chest. A diary is kept by the patient which provides a record of all activities and/or symptoms. Once the Holter is removed, the recording is analyzed, a report of the heart’s activity is tabulated, and irregular heart activity is correlated with activity at the time. There is no special preparation for the test. Because this device cannot be immersed in water, showering or bathing prior to the test is suggested. Learn more about the Holter monitor.
Cardiac Event Monitoring
Another kind of ambulatory EKG monitoring is Cardiac Event Monitoring. A cardiac event monitor can be used for a longer time than a Holter monitor and is more likely to record an abnormal heart rhythm which may occur infrequently. Two types of cardiac event monitors are available. Presymptom and postsymptom event monitors. Presymptom, or loop recorder, is a small device that attaches to the chest with electrodes and constantly records heartbeats. When symptoms occur, the patient presses a button on the monitor to make a permanent recording of the heart rhythm. This type of monitor also saves a small amount of information about how the heart was beating before the save button was pressed (presymptom recording). This feature is especially useful for people who pass out when their heart problems occur and can press the button only after they wake up. Postsymptom event monitoring is a small device that is used only when symptoms occur. It does not have electrodes that are attached to the chest, but instead relies on direct skin contact to record the heart rhythm. Learn more about cardiac event monitors.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor
We can determine the cause of your hypertension and treat it accordingly with an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, (ABPM) takes numerous readings of your blood pressure over a 24 hour period or longer. It provides accurate and reliable information and can give you and your doctor a truer picture of your blood pressure profile than those readings taken during routine office visits. A blood pressure cuff similar to ones used in a physician’s office is worn around the arm for 24 hours. This cuff is attached to a unit about the size of a small hand-held cassette player which is worn around the waist. Once the 24 hour period has expired the unit’s information is downloaded to the computers in our office and over read by Dr. Thaik. Learn more about ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Aesthetics & Weight Management
Life is a gift, and good health and a good heart should be our most prized possessions – Dr. Cynthia