The Heart and Vascular Center is committed to providing the best possible care to patients with various forms of cardiac and/or vascular disorders.
An EKG is a painless test that is used to get information about the electrical activity of the heart, such as the rate and regularity of the heartbeat. The size and position of the heart chambers as well as any damage to the heart can also be obtained through an EKG. If you use an implanted device, like a pacemaker, its effect on the heart can also be studied through the results of this test.
Touro offers advanced cardiac diagnosis through the use of a diagnostic ultrasound test. This test allows our cardiologists to look at the heart without using x-rays or surgery. Echocardiography is used to track blood flow through the heart. Color-coded images produced by ultrasound provide extremely detailed information about the function and condition of the valves and walls of the heart, revealing possible abnormalities undetectable using other techniques.
Cardiac Catheterization is a specialized study of the heart during which a catheter, or thin hollow flexible tube, is inserted into the artery of the groin or arm. Under x-ray visualization, the tip of the catheter is guided to the heart. Pressures are measured and an x-ray Angiogram of the heart and blood vessels are obtained while injecting an iodinated colorless "dye" or contrast material through the catheter. Coronary angios are obtained by injecting the contrast material into the opening or mouth of a coronary artery. The iodinated solution blocks the passage of x-rays. X-ray movie pictures taken during the injection of the contrast material allow the coronary arteries to be visualized.
During an EP study, a specially trained cardiac specialist may provoke arrhythmia events and collect data about the flow of electricity during actual events. As a result, EP studies can help locate the specific areas of heart tissue that give rise to the abnormal electrical impulses that cause arrhythmias. This detailed electrical flow information provides valuable diagnostic information. EP studies most often are recommended for patients with symptoms indicative of heart rhythm disorders.
Cardiac nuclear medicine tests are indicated for individuals with unexplained chest pain or chest pain brought on by exercise (called angina) to permit the early detection of heart disease. The most common cardiac nuclear medicine procedure, called myocardial perfusion scanning, enables the visualization of blood-flow patterns to the heart walls. The test is important for evaluating the presence and extent of suspected or known coronary artery disease (blockages) as well as the results of previous injury to the heart from a heart attack, called a myocardial infarction. It also can be done to evaluate the results of bypass surgery or other percutaneous revascularization procedures designed to restore the blood supply to the heart.
Vascular ultrasound is a painless test used to:
- help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body
- locate and identify blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like blood clots, plaque, or emboli and help plan for their effective treatment
- determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a procedure such as angioplasty
- to plan or evaluate the success of procedures that graft or bypass blood vessels
Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate:
A Holter monitor is a continuous tape recording of a patient's EKG for 24 hours. Since it can be worn during the patient's regular daily activities, it helps the physician correlate symptoms of dizziness, palpitations (a sensation of fast or irregular heart rhythm) or black outs. Since the recording covers 24 hours, on a continuous basis, Holter monitoring is more likely to detect an abnormal heart rhythm.
Advanced diagnosis of heart disease can often prevent more serious events, such as a heart attack. Performed in the stress lab, these testing procedures often include an electrocardiogram (EKG), which monitors the electrical activity of the heart. During a stress test, specialists measure the changes in the heart during exercise.
Cerebral angiography is used to image the blood vessels of the brain and the blood flowing through them. Angiography involves entering a catheter into the body to inject a dye (a contrast medium) into the carotid arteries, the vessels of the neck that lead to the brain. Then regular x-ray is used to image the dye that is flowing through the blood vessels.
A peripheral angiogram or arteriogram is an examination of the peripheral arteries in your body, other than your coronary arteries. Peripheral angiograms are most often done to examine the arteries which supply blood to the head and neck, or the abdomen and legs. Because arteries do not show up on ordinary x-rays, during your angiogram you will receive a contrast dye to make the arteries visible under x-ray. Peripheral angiograms are done under local anesthesia and usually take from 1 to 3 hours.
Some tachycardias are life-threatening or interfere with your normal activities and require permanent treatment. An ablation is a widely used treatment in which a catheter is positioned directly over the area causing the tachycardia. The catheter's tip is then heated by radiofrequency waves to alter a small area of the heart, which stops electrical current from passing through the tissue.
- Coronary, Carotid, and Peripheral Stenting
An intracoronary stent is a metal device that provides structural support to prevent collapse of the artery after interventional procedures. The stent(s) remain in the artery permanently and will be completely covered by a new layer of tissue in about one month. Touro physicians can use these high technology procedures to help restore blood flow in heart vessels without open-heart surgery.
During this procedure, live x-ray pictures on a video screen are used to guide a fabric and metal tube, called an endovascular stent graft (or endograft), to the site of the aneurysm. Like the graft in open surgery, the endovascular stent graft also strengthens the aorta. Recovery time for endovascular stent graft is usually shorter than the open surgery.
Angioplasty is a procedure performed to open up the blockages in the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries). During this procedure, a balloon-tipped tube is fed through a plastic tube that is placed in the groin or the arm and directed into the coronary artery. The balloon is positioned at the site of the blockage and inflated and deflated several times, stretching the artery and flattening the fatty deposits against the wall of the artery, leaving a wider path for blood to flow to the heart.
When the heart's natural pacemaker fails, an artificial pacemaker can be implanted. Once implanted, the pacemaker will emit a series of electrical signals, which result in regular contractions of the heart and the restoration of normal blood flow through the circulatory system.
A light-weight electronic device can implanted under the skin to track heart rhythm and slow down or halt excessively rapid heart rates. Some of these rhythms, if untreated, would cause fatal outcomes within minutes. The procedure for insertion is very similar to that of a pacemaker.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are small devices, about the size of a pager, that are placed below the collarbone. Via wires, or leads, these devices continuously monitor the heart’s rhythm. If the heart beats too quickly, the ventricles will not have enough time to fill with blood and will not effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. Left unchecked, the rapid heartbeat could cause cardiac arrest. To intervene, the ICD issues a lifesaving jolt of electricity to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. ICDs also can act as pacemakers when a heart beat that is too slow (bradycardia) is detected.
Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are designed to help people who have cardiovascular disease or who are at a high risk of developing this disease. It assists individuals to reach and maintain their highest level of health through a guided regimen of exercise and positive lifestyle change. Persons who may benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation include those who have had or currently have: bypass surgery, valve surgery, heart transplant, heart attack, high blood pressure, angina, angioplasty, stent placement, and/or vascular disease. For more information call Barbara Hughes or Allison Ott at 504-897-8186.