Non-Invasive Cardiology
Being able to assess and measure how the heart is functioning without entering the body is called noninvasive cardiology. Non-invasive cardiology uses ultrasound waves to examine the heart (an echocardiogram). An echocardiogram can provide information on contractility, valve function, blood flow through the heart and other vessels, and evaluation of any clots that may have formed in the chambers of the heart. The findings from this test can answer some questions or tell us if further tests are indicated.

Before a cardiac catheterization (angiogram) is ordered, you may have a form of stress test ordered. Exercise or stress testing is used to determine exercise capacity and to monitor cardiac arrhythmias. A stress test can also determine if myocardial ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart muscle) is the cause of chest pain for the patient.

Several tests in this field may be used:

Treadmill test - Patient walks on a treadmill while an electrocardiogram is being recorded. This allows doctors to study how the heart functions when made to work harder. Arrhythmias and other subtle changes may occur, making more tests necessary.
Click Here for treadmill stress test instructions.

Echocardiogram - For an "echo", ultrasound waves are used on a resting heart to look at blood flow through the heart, contractility, valve function, any clot formation, and cardiac wall motion abnormalities.
Click Here for echocardiogram instructions.

Stress Echocardiogram - A "stress echo" involves getting a resting echo before exercise, an echo during the last minute of exercise at target heart rate, and then immediately after terminating exercise. To achieve target heart rate, the patient exercises on a treadmill or supine bicycle. Significant ECG changes with cardiac wall motion abnormalities indicate myocardial ischemia. At this point, an angiogram is often recommended.
Click Here for stress echocardiogram instructions.

Dobutamine Echocardiogram - This test is for those patients who are unable to perform sufficient exercise to achieve target heart rate. Dobutamine is given through an intravenous catheter placed in the patient's arm. An echo is taken at rest, at target heart rate after Dobutamine is given and immediately after it is given. This test gives us the same information as the stress echo. A small percentage of patients will experience shaking or tremors associated with the use of dobutamine.

Nuclear Stress Testing - Nuclear perfusion imaging uses a radioactive isotope injected into the bloodstream to detect areas of abnormal blood flow to the heart muscle during exercise.

Peripheral Vascular Studies - Noninvasive vascular studies are also done on the carotid arteries in the neck and other vessels in the arms and legs. These are done to study blood flow, check for narrowing (atherosclerosis), clots, and possible dissection of the vessel.

The noninvasive program at Los Angeles Cardiology Associates uses the latest equipment available in performing diagnostic tests. With the ongoing improvements in equipment, we have improved images resulting in even more accurate diagnosis.
Anatomy & Physiology Anatomy & Physiology
Cardiac Contractility Cardiac Contractility
Coronary Circulation Coronary Circulation
Electrophysiology Electrophysiology
Non-Invasive Cardiology Non-Invasive Cardiology
Pacemakers Pacemakers

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