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Diagnostic Testing

Crozer-Keystone’s hospitals are staffed by a highly trained and educated team of heart specialists who use a series of diagnostic tools and services including:

Noninvasive, Semi-invasive Procedures

Echocardiogram

During the procedure, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce or "echo" off of the heart structures. These sound waves are sent to a computer that can create moving images of the heart walls and valves.

Doppler Echocardiogram

The Doppler Echocardiogram is used to measure and assess the flow of blood through the heart's chambers and valves. The amount of blood pumped out with each beat is an indication of the heart's functioning. Also, Doppler can detect abnormal blood flow within the heart, which can indicate a problem with one or more of the heart's four valves, or with the heart's walls.

Stress Echocardiogram

A Stress Echocardiogram (ECG) is performed to assess the heart's response to stress or exercise. The ECG is monitored while a person is exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram

During a transesophageal echocardiogram, the patient’s throat is numbed and an endoscopic probe is swallowed, providing a close-up image of the heart; patients remain conscious, but are sedated for their comfort during the procedure.

Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram (ECC or EKG) is a recording of the heart’s electrical activity which can show different rhythms that provide clues to symptoms and potential problems.

Holter Monitor

A Holter Monitor is a device the size of a camera that checks for abnormal heart rhythms; the monitor, connected to electrodes on the chest, is worn on a shoulder strap for 8 to 24 hours while the patient engages in normal activity.

Pharmacologic Nuclear Stress Echocardiogram

During a Pharmacologic Nuclear Stress Echocardiogram, a drug and a radioisotope heart scanning material are injected, then a scanning camera records images to determine whether there is reduced blood supply to areas of the heart.

Tilt Table Testing

A tilt table test is done while the person is connected to ECG and blood pressure monitors and strapped to a table that tilts the person from a lying to standing position. This test is used to determine if the person is prone to sudden drops in blood pressure or slow pulse rates with position changes.

Invasive Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization enables physicians to see the coronary arteries and heart valves, showing narrowed or blocked arteries, defective valves, or other problems. It is generally performed to diagnose a heart condition and determine whether a patient needs treatment to open a blocked artery or re-route the blood flow around it.

During a cardiac catheterization, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through a blood vessel in the arm or groin and guided to the heart. Dye (x-ray contrast) is injected through the catheter and x-ray pictures are taken of the coronary arteries to see whether they are narrowed or blocked and to find plaque.

Electrophysiology Studies

An electrophysiological study (EP study) is an invasive procedure that evaluated abnormal heart rhythm disturbances. During an EP study, small, thin wire electrodes are inserted through a vein in the groin (or neck, in some cases). The wire electrodes are threaded into the heart, using a special type of X-ray, called fluoroscopy. Once in the heart, electrical signals are measured. Electrical signals are sent through the catheter to stimulate the heart tissue to try to initiate the abnormal heart rhythm disturbances for evaluation.

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