Understand Cardiology Tests and Treatments
24-Hour Emergency Treatment Close to Home
At Great River Medical Center, patients have access to comprehensive diagnostic
tests and treatment options.
An X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the
blood flow in an artery or a vein. Common angiograms examine arteries near the:
- Aorta (aortogram)
- Brain (cerebral angiogram)
- Head and neck (carotid angiogram)
- Heart (coronary angiogram)
- Legs or arms (peripheral angiogram)
- Lungs (pulmonary angiogram)
The goal of angioplasty is to open blood vessels and increase blood flow
to the heart. It is done when arteries are narrowed or blocked from coronary
artery disease. Angioplasty can be done with or without a small, wire-mesh
tube called a stent.
This is an imaging procedure that identifies heart disease by allowing
a cardiologist to “see” how well the heart is functioning.
During the test, a long, narrow tube called a catheter is inserted into
a blood vessel in the arm or leg and guided to the heart with the aid
of a special X-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter
so X-ray movies of valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers can be created.
Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test
During cardiac calcium scoring testing, patients lie down on their backs,
and they are scanned in a computed tomography (CT) unit. Special images
are taken of the heart while the patient holds his or her breath for about
20 seconds. Special cardiac-scoring software measures the amount of calcium
in coronary arteries. Radiologists interpret the information and send
the results to the patient’s health care provider within a week
after the test.
High-frequency sound waves produce images that show cardiologists how well
blood is moving through the heart.
Holter and Cardiac Event Monitoring
Small, portable, noninvasive devices record heart activity as a patient
goes about regular activities. A patient wears a Holter monitor usually
for 24 or 48 continuous hours, and notes in a diary the time and description
of every symptom. The patient may wear an event monitor for up to 30 days,
pressing a button to record an electrocardiogram when symptoms occur.
Leg Pressure Testing (ABI)
Using blood-pressure cuffs on both ankles and both arms, this painless
examination determines how well blood is flowing to all four extremities.
Nuclear Stress Test
A nuclear stress test, also known as a myocardial perfusion imaging study,
uses an imaging contrast agent called a radiotracer to take pictures of
the heart during stress and rest conditions. The images are evaluated
to look for changes that may indicate heart blockages.
Preoperative Cardiac Clearance
Cardiac clearance includes a variety of testing as a basic means of evaluating
suitability for – and the risk of – heart and vascular procedures.
A minimally invasive procedure using catheter technology - inserting the
device attached to a catheter in a large artery - and advancing it to
the site of the damage. To keep a narrowed artery open permanently, an
interventional cardiologist inserts a collapsed wire-mesh tube called
a stent into place and expands it into the artery wall by inflating a balloon.
In renal and peripheral angioplasty and stenting, an interventional cardiologist
uses techniques like those used in the heart arteries to open plaque-narrowed
arteries in the legs.
To test how well the heart handles added work, patients walk on a treadmill
while a monitor tracks blood flow through the heart's arteries.