Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Imaging
What’s going on with your heart
Diagnostic tests are used to determine if a person has cardiovascular disease, the type of disease and the severity. Our cardiology team performs a full spectrum of diagnostic procedures for cardiovascular disease.
Laboratory blood tests can be used to diagnose and monitor heart disease. These are some of the more common tests and what they’re used for:
- Cardiac biomarkers – When your heart is damaged, the cells release certain biochemicals. These telltale chemicals are called cardiac markers. Tests for these markers can help diagnose a heart attack.
- Lipid panel – A lipid panel measures cholesterol, triglycerides and other fatty substances in your blood.
- C-reactive protein – A high-sensitivity CRP test (hs-CRP) is used to determine levels of C-reactive protein in your blood. High levels occur when blood vessels are inflamed and are a sign of increased risk for heart disease.
- BNP test – When your heart is failing, your body sends B-type natriuretic peptides (BNP) into your bloodstream. BNP levels can help diagnose and evaluate heart failure and other heart conditions.
- Electrolyte test – Electrolytes are essential for heart function. Tests can help determine how well certain treatments are working.
- Glucose tests – A blood sugar test helps your doctor check for and monitor diabetes. High glucose can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries, putting healthy blood flow at risk.
- Blood coagulation test – These tests help determine if you are taking a safe level of blood thinners.
- Blood count – This test measures your red and white blood cells and helps your doctor measure your ability to fight infections. This test also indicates how well your blood is able to carry oxygen to vital organs.
By inserting catheters into your blood vessels, we can get a closer look at your coronary arteries and test the heart’s electrical system. These tests include angiography, coronary arteriography, carotid angiography and electrophysiology studies.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that lets doctors see inside your body without surgery or radiation. A cardiac MRI provides highly-detailed images of your heart and blood vessels, giving your doctor critical information to diagnose your condition and plan a course of treatment. An MRI thoroughly evaluates cardiac structure and function and can diagnose some cardiac conditions that cannot be found with other imaging.
Electrocardiograph tests evaluate the electrical activity of your heart. These tests include tilt-table testing, stress tests, EKGs, event monitoring and Holter monitoring.
Nuclear imaging is a method of producing images by detecting radiation from different parts of the body after the administration of a radioactive tracer material.
Physical exams are an important first step in diagnosing cardiovascular disease.
Radiographic tests use x-rays or other imaging machines (CT, MRI) to capture pictures of your heart.
Stress tests are used to diagnose or determine someone’s risk for heart disease. Information gathered during a stress test can be used to identify or manage many heart conditions.
Types of stress tests:
- Exercise stress test – shows how your heart works during physical activity; typically involves walking on a treadmill while your heart rhythm and blood pressure are monitored
- Nuclear stress test – uses radioactive dye and an imaging machine to capture pictures of blood flow to your heart
- Stress echocardiography – adds ultrasound before and after exercise to evaluate blood flow and check for blockages in the arteries that supply the heart
Ultrasound tests use high frequency sound waves to create graphic images of your heart's structures, pumping action and blood flow.