The experienced and knowledgeable team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses and support staff at the Heart & Vascular Institute remain dedicated to providing patients with the best possible care. In order to properly diagnose and treat your condition, our heart doctors rely on state-of-the-art technology and advanced testing procedures to pinpoint and confirm specific characteristics of each patient’s unique situation.
This precise and detailed approach ensures that our cardiovascular specialists have the information they need to make informed, data-rich decisions regarding your health and treatment.
The information below explains the different types of tests we perform to ascertain detailed information regarding your specific situation so that we can more accurately diagnose and treat your condition.
We currently can perform any of the tests listed below:
1. Echo Doppler
An echocardiogram test allows physicians to see the movement of the heart muscle inside the body using ultrasound technology — similar to that used to view a developing fetus in the womb. There are a number of different types of echocardiogram — some offer a one-dimensional (flat) view of the heart and others provide a 2D or 3D image. The Doppler echocardiogram allows our cardiologists to measure the flow of blood through the heart and the blood vessels.
2. Vascular Doppler
Indications: Arterial testing is a painless and completely non-invasive way to assess blood flow in the limbs. Results analysis can reveal whether a person has uneven blood flow throughout the arms and legs, which can indicate that they have cholesterol buildup in a particular area of the body. Patients may continue with their normal activities both before and after the procedure, but their cardiologist may ask what medications they are currently taking.
The aorta ultrasound test helps our cardiologists visualize blood ﬂow through the aorta, the large blood vessel located at the top of the heart that delivers blood to the rest of the body. This test is used in patients at risk of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm which occurs when the walls of the aorta become weakened and eventually burst as blood ﬂows through. The test is painless and non-invasive.
Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
Our heart surgeons rely on the ankle-brachial index test for patients who are suspected to have or already have peripheral arterial disease in their legs — a condition characterized by a blockage and hardening of the arteries. This specialized test allows our Detroit cardiologists to get a better idea of the severity and progression of the disease. The test measures the blood pressure in a patient’s ankle and compares it to the blood pressure in their arm. Certain other medical conditions — such as calcification of the arteries, diabetes, or kidney problems — may throw off test results, so it is important to talk to your Heart & Vascular Institute physician before and after the test.
This technology uses soundwaves to view the healthiness of your kidneys and bladder.
Venous and Insufficiency
Venous is a non-invasive method used to study vascular physiology and pharmacology. The technique is typically combined with intra-arterial drug administration, usually into the forearm vascular bed to assess changes in forearm blood flow. This is an ideal method to assess the local effect of drugs and hormones on peripheral resistance vessels without invoking systemic effects.
3. Peripheral Angiogram
Also called a peripheral arteriogram, a peripheral angiogram test helps our Detroit cardiologists see blockages in the arteries in the legs by using x-rays. Arterial blockages in the lower half of the body are often related to peripheral artery disease (or PAD), a condition that causes pain or tiredness in the legs. Most patients stay in a recovery room for several hours following the procedure, but can return home later that day. Patients may need to adjust their diet, fluid intake, and medications in the days prior to the test and should discuss alterations with their doctor.
4. Heart Catheterization
Left Heart Catheterization (LHC)
Designed to help evaluate the heart’s functioning as well as certain heart defects and valve problems, this procedure typically lasts under a few hours. The test involves threading a slender and flexible tube into the left side of the patient’s heart and injecting a safe dye, allowing our cardiologists to see whether there are any blockages. Patients about to undergo left heart catheterization should not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the test, and though patients will not be under general anesthesia, they will be given local anesthetics and do not feel any pain or discomfort from the insertion of the catheter.
Right Heart Catheterization (RHC)
Also known as pulmonary artery catheterization or Swan-Ganz catheterization, right heart catheterization is the guiding of a thin catheter up to the right side of the heart and into the pulmonary arteries. The catheter is then left in place to allow cardiologists to see how well the heart is working and measure blood pressure in these areas. The test is most commonly used to evaluate patients with low blood pressure, kidney abnormalities, or water in the lungs. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, and most patients are able to return home a few hours after having RHC. The test does not require general anesthesia.
5. Pharmacological Stress Test
Cardiac Persantinenuclear stress testinghelps our Detroit cardiologists to assess the width of a patient’s arteries. Persantine is a medication that causes the arteries to temporarily become wider, and healthy arteries will respond to it better than arteries blocked with plaque buildup. There are two portions to the test — a resting portion and a stress portion — and patients should not eat, drink, smoke, or consume caffeine for 12 hours before the test. Patients should also talk to their heart doctor about their medications and whether they are safe to take before testing.
Lexiscan — also called regadenoson) — is a fast-acting stress agent that increases blood flow in the arteries to help our Detroit heart doctors administer certain tests for coronary artery disease. Lexiscan is often used in place of exercise when a patient is unable to walk on a treadmill. Though some patients may feel out of breath or experience headache, nausea or chest discomfort during the test, the effects quickly wear off. Patients should not consume caffeine or other stimulant drugs twelve hours before the test.
The dobutamine stress echo test allows thecardiologistsat the Heart & Vascular Instituteto examine the functioning of the heart and valves for patients unable to run on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle. The test can be used to tell whether a patient’s heart responds normally to activity and stress as well as determine their risk of having coronary artery disease.Dobutamine is a safe medication that stimulates the heart to replicate the stressput on the heart during exercise. Patients should avoid eating, drinking, or consuming caffeine several hours before the test. It is also important not to smoke the day of testing as well as to avoid certain heart medications 24 hours before the procedure — patients should discuss their medications with their Detroit heart doctor.
The nuclear exercise stress test helps our Michigan cardiologists assess blood flow to the heart. By injecting a small amount of a safe radioactive substance and tracing its path through the bloodstream, doctors can compare a patient’s blood flow at rest with the blood flow during activity. Patients will be required to run on a treadmill or use a stationary bike for the activity portion of the test. The entire test should take a few hours, and patients who take medications for heart conditions, asthma, or diabetes should discuss their medicine with their Heart & Vascular Institute physician beforehand. Patients should also avoid caffeine for 24 before the test, should not smoke the day of the test and should not eat or drink for at least four hours beforehand.
Non-Exercise Nuclear Stress Test
While a traditional nuclear stress test uses exercise to determine whether patients experience normal blood flow when their heart muscle is stressed, this test utilizes a safe drug to raise the heart rate. It’s suitable for patients who are unable to exercise. The test will take several hours and have several phases, and patients should discuss pre-test care and food intake habits with their cardiologist.
Exercise Stress Echo
This test can help a cardiologist determine how well the heart handles physical activity to asses a patient’s risk of heart disease. The exercise stress echocardiogram test is performed on a treadmill or exercise bike. The patient will be encouraged to exercise sufficiently in order to increase their heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure — usually for no more than 7-12 minutes. Most patients do not feel any ill effects from the test, but it is important for patients to talk to their doctors about their medications and whether it is safe to take them the day of testing. Patients should also avoid caffeine and nicotine the day of the test and should not eat or drink at least four hours beforehand.
6. Vein Ablations
Heart & Vascular Institute uses this advanced laser technology and radio frequencies to smooth the appearance of veins, which reduces symptoms of pain and swelling. These ablations are very safe to use; they use energy to burn to close varicose veins. Our doctors are skilled in providing excellent laser vein treatment.
7. Electrophysiology (EP)
A procedure that removes tissue you in your heart that sends wrong electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm. Our doctors use a catheter that is inserted through blood vessels to your heart and map your heart's electric signals.
A battery-powered device that is placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. If an abnormal heart beat or rhythm is identified the device will send an electric signal to allow for a normal heartbeat if your heart rate is really fast.
A type of heart-monitoring device that constantly keeps track of your heart rhythm for up to three years. It records the electric signals of your heart and allows constant tracking through a small device inserted below the skin of the chest.
A small device that's placed in the chest to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This device uses electrical pulses to direct the heart to beat at a normal rate. Pacemakers are generally used to treat arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.