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diagnostics

Diagnostic and testing procedures

ProHealth Care's Heart and Vascular Services use the latest technology to perform tests and procedures that quickly and accurately diagnose heart and vascular conditions. Following are some of the diagnostic procedures offered and descriptions of what to expect when they are performed.

Echocardiogram and Transesophageal Echocardiogram

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram, or echo, is an ultrasound test that evaluates how your heart works, analyzing size, shape, and efficiency with the use of sound waves. During the test, a gel-like substance will be applied to the skin and an instrument called a transducer probe will be placed between your ribs on the left side of your chest. This instrument gathers the necessary information to help identify clues about your heart. It is a non-invasive test, which means it is performed without entering your body with any type of needle, catheter, wire, etc.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram is a test that helps physicians to see the backside of your heart by using a small transducer that is passed through your mouth and down your esophagus. A numbing medication will be administered to help relax your throat

If you're scheduled for an echo test:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Female patients will be given a gown to wear since all patients will be asked to remove their clothing above the waist.

  • During the test, a sonographer will hold the transducer in appropriate places across your chest to obtain images for the physician.

  • Electrodes will be attached to your chest to record an EKG at the same time.

  • Results will be reviewed and interpreted by a cardiologist and sent to your doctor.

The echocardiogram takes about 60 minutes and is generally painless.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)

An electrocardiogram is a recording of the electrical activity of your heart. The heart is made of many muscle fibers. The squeezing or pumping of your heart is the result of contracting and relaxing of these muscle fibers. The stimulus for your heart to pump is caused by electrical impulses. Electrodes and wires will be placed on your arms, legs and chest to evaluate the electrical signals and generate a pattern on the EKG printout. Your physician then analyzes this pattern to tell whether your heart is normal or experiencing stress, strain or damage.

If you're scheduled for an EKG:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Female patients may be asked to remove their bra for the test.

  • While you lie on your back, the technician will place sticker electrodes onto your upper arms, ankles and chest.

  • A computer will record the electrical activity of your heart through electrodes.

  • Results will be reviewed and interpreted by a physician and sent to your doctor.

The test takes about 15 minutes and is painless.

Holter monitors, event monitors and loop readers

Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is a small electrocardiogram (EKG) machine that you wear on a clip under your clothing. EKG electrodes and wires are attached to your chest and record your heart beats during daily activities. The monitor is typically worn for 24 to 48 hours.

While wearing the heart monitor, you'll be asked to keep a diary of your activities. This is so the physician reading your monitor's recording will be able to cross-reference your heart's activities with your physical activities.

 

Event and Ambulatory Telemetry Monitor (ACT)

Event and ACT heart monitors are types of portable monitors which records your heart's action upon pushing a button to save the most recent readings. This type of heart monitor may be worn for up to four weeks, depending on when a cardiac symptom occurs. When you begin to feel a symptom, you will be asked to push a button on the heart monitor to permanently record the experience; the monitor is also capable of gathering recordings on its own. The recordings are transmitted automatically over a provided cellular phone for your cardiologist to interpret at a later time.

Loop recorder

Loop recorders are heart monitors placed under your skin in the Cardiac Cath Lab. They can be left in place for up to 12 months and record the electrical activity of your heart to help determine if there's an abnormal heart rhythm.

If you are scheduled for a monitor:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Indicate to your technician if you have adhesive allergies.

  • The electrodes and monitor will be placed and instructions on how to maintain the monitor will be given.

  • After the monitor is returned, results will be reviewed and interpreted by a cardiologist and sent to your doctor.

Heart CT Scan (Heart Disease Screening)

Find out if you are at a higher risk for heart disease or heart attack with a CT heart scan that uses low-dose radiation to survey your coronary arteries for calcium build up. The experience is simple, fast and painless. You simply lie on the scan table and our CT scanner will do the rest, capturing images of your coronary arteries to get a picture of your heart health. Learn more.

Heart Stress Test

There are several different kinds of stress tests for the heart, each designed to reveal different information about your heart during hard work or exercise. This test is usually given while you walk on a treadmill to monitor your heart's activity while you exercise. Blood pressure readings are also monitored.

A heart stress test may be used to detect coronary artery disease, help identify abnormal heart rhythms, or to determine safe levels of exercise following a heart attack or heart surgery.

Stress tests that we perform include:

Arterial Doppler Test

The arterial doppler test is a blood pressure test for the arteries in your legs or arms. It is usually ordered to see if there is a lack of blood flow through your legs or arms, which may be caused by a blockage in your arteries. The blockage may be a result of plaque or cholesterol that has built up in the arterial wall.

For the test, you will be asked to disrobe from the waist down or waist up, except for your undergarments.You will lie on your back and blood pressure cuffs will be applied on both your legs and arms. A "doppler probe," about the size of a pencil, will be used to listen to the blood flow in your arteries and will test your blood pressure. After this part of the test is over, you may be asked to walk on the treadmill. The technologist will test the blood pressure at your ankles when evaluating the legs.

If you are scheduled for an arterial doppler:

  • Wear comfortable clothing to walk on a treadmill if necessary

Please allow approximately one hour for this test.

Vascular Screening $99 (AAA, PAD, CAD)

Vascular disease is the reduced circulation of blood to a body part caused by a narrowed or blocked artery or other blood vessel. Stroke, aneurysms and kidney failure are examples of conditions that can be caused by inefficient blood flow. Fortunately, our vascular screening, designed for individuals 55 and older, encompasses three different screenings to help detect early signs of vascular disease so circulatory conditions can be treated.

Our vascular screening includes:

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening

An AAA screening uses ultrasound to check for weakness in the walls of the aorta, the body's largest artery. The aorta takes blood from the heart and through the chest and belly before dividing into the two main arteries that supply blood to your legs. if the walls of that artery weaken, the artery can balloon out, causing the risk of rupture, which often leads to death. When this occurs below the chest and near the belly, it's called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening

Our PAD screening uses the ankle brachial index (ABI), which compares the blood pressure in the lower legs to the blood pressure in the arms. When compared to the arm, a lower blood pressure reading in the leg is an indication of blocked arteries or peripheral artery disease.

Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) screening

The carotid artery screening provides ultrasound images of the two carotid arteries located on each side of the neck. It checks for narrowing or clogging of these arteries caused by plaque buildup, which can lead to a stroke.

 

To schedule your screening, call 262-928-3000. No physician referral is needed to receive this screening. However, you must have a primary care physician in the event follow-up care is needed.

 

The fee for the screening is $99. Payment is due at the time of your appointment. Medicare and most insurance companies do not cover the cost of the vascular screenings included in this specially priced package. The cost may be an eligible expense through your flexible spending account.

Vascular Ultrasound Duplex

The type of ultrasound machine that is used in this test is called a duplex. This machine sends sound waves into your body. The sound bounces back to create a picture of your blood vessels and the surrounding tissue. Types of vascular ultrasound duplexes we perform include: Carotid duplex Venus duplex Arterial Duplex

Cartoid Duplex Test

The carotid duplex test is ordered to see if there is any blockage to the carotid arteries. The type of ultrasound machine that is used in this test is called a "duplex." This machine sends sound waves into your body, and the sound bounces back to create a picture of your blood vessels and the surrounding tissue in your neck.

For the test, you will be asked to lie on your back, and the exam room will be dark. A gel-like substance will be applied on your neck, and a technologist will guide a "probe" along your neck. This procedure is totally painless and takes about one hour to complete.

Venous Duplex

A dialysis graft duplex test is ordered to see if there is any technical "blood flow" abnormality in the bypass graft or the arteries to which the graft is attached. Early detection of the blood flow problems in the graft wall enables the surgeon to correct the problem before the graft becomes totally blocked.

For the test, you will be asked to sit in a chair and place your arm on the exam table.

The technologist, using an ultrasound probe, will make an image of the graft. At various times throughout the test, you will hear the "doppler." It gives off a high-pitched heart beat sound. This test will take about one hour to perform.

Arterial Duplex

A lower limb graft duplex test is typically performed to see if there is any technical "blood flow" abnormality in the arterial bypass graft or the arteries to which the graft is attached. Early detection of the blood flow problems in the graft wall enables the surgeon to correct the problem before the graft becomes totally blocked.

For the test, you will be asked to disrobe from the waist down, except for your undergarments. You will lie on your back, and the exam room will be dark. A gel-like substance will be applied to your leg, and the technologist will guide a "probe" along your leg, which will image inside your graft. This procedure is totally painless and takes about one hour to complete.

If you are scheduled for a Vascular Ultrasound Duplex:

  • Wear comfortable clothing that can be removed for the test when needed.

  • During the test, a sonographer will hold the transducer in appropriate places and obtain images for the physician.

  • Results will be reviewed and interpreted by a vascular surgeon and sent to your doctor.

A Vascular Ultrasound Duplex takes approximately one hour and is generally painless.