Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Imaging
Advanced cardiac diagnostic services
The first step toward a healthy heart is to determine the type and extent of cardiovascular disease. Charlotte Regional and Peace River Regional provide technologically advanced heart care, offering state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and expertise. Our experienced clinical cardiologists use a wide range of sophisticated cardiac procedures to diagnose heart disease:
- Cardiac CT angiography - Cardiac CT angiography is a way to evaluate the chambers of the heart and the vessels that supply the heart with blood. This test is beneficial for looking for plaque and regions of narrowing or blockage in the coronary vessels, evaluating abnormalities in the location of the coronary vessels, evaluating the presence of masses in the heart, and evaluating the presence of abnormal anatomic connections in the heart.
- Cardiac electrophysiology studies - are specialized procedures conducted by a highly trained cardiac specialist, the electrophysiologist. During these procedures, one or more thin, flexible wires, called catheters, are inserted into a blood vessel (usually in the groin) and guided into the heart. Each catheter has one or more electrodes to measure the heart’s electrical signals as they travel from one chamber to another. (Peace River Regional only)
- Echocardiography - A small device placed on the chest uses sound waves to create images of the heart's structures, movement and pumping strength.
- Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) - A measurement of the heart's electrical activity using electrodes placed on the chest to determine if a heart attack has occurred, the location and extent of heart damage, and cardiac rhythm problems.
- Exercise stress testing - Stress testing is used to determine the heart's response to different levels of exertion. During this test, a patient walks on a treadmill while the heart, blood pressure and any symptoms are closely monitored. It may be combined with echocardiography to evaluate ultrasound images of the heart at the same time.
- Echocardiogram - is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of the heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of the heart that can be seen on a video screen.
- Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) - is a medical imaging methodology using a specially designed catheter with a miniaturized ultrasound probe attached to the insertion end of the catheter. The other end of the catheter is attached to computerized ultrasound equipment. It allows the application of ultrasound technology to see from inside blood vessels out through the surrounding blood column, visualizing the endothelium (inner wall) of blood vessels.
- Perfusion stress testing - Similar to exercise stress testing, a perfusion test involves injection of a small amount of a radioisotope tracer solution. A special camera tracks movement of the tracer solution immediately after exercise. The test is used to reveal areas of decreased blood flow to the heart muscle during exercise and at rest. Certain medications may be administered in place of the treadmill for patients unable to exercise.
- Signaled average ECG – Perfused tissue is illuminated and light passing through the tissue or reflected from it is detected to produce an electrical signal. Amplitude pulses corresponding to the subject's heart beat are detected in the electrical signal and the areas of these pulses are calculated to produce blood flow values indicative of the blood volume pumped by the heart. The blood flow values may be used alone or in combination with other measured cardiac parameters to evaluate cardiac function.
- Tilt table test - A tilt table test is a medical procedure often used to diagnose dysautonomia or syncope. Patients with symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness, with or without a loss of consciousness (fainting), suspected to be associated with a drop in blood pressure or positional tachycardia are good candidates for this test.