Non-invasive services provide maximum information with minimum risk
Identifying your problem is the first step toward correcting it. Here are some of the non-invasive tests we use to study the condition of your heart:
- Transesophageal echocardiography. Our advanced echocardiography unit provides exacting images necessary for a highly accurate diagnosis of cardiac problems. For this test, the doctor places a probe in the esophagus that bounces sound waves into the chest. The way the sounds rebound provides a real-time picture of the heart's structure — the chambers, valves and large vessels. It also shows the size of heart chambers and how they are working.
- Stress echocardiography. This helps doctors detect coronary artery disease by comparing the heart at rest and during exercise or stress. It uses sound waves before, during or immediately after physical exercise, such as treadmill exercise, to take pictures of the heart.
- Stress tests. Also called a treadmill test, this helps your doctor to determine how well your heart handles work by raising your heart rate. During exercise, the heart needs to pump more blood to generate more oxygen. The stress test reveals whether the arteries are pumping enough blood to the heart. It's also a good way to determine how much exercise is appropriate for you.
- EKGs. An electrocardiogram measures the heart's electrical impulses through sensors taped to the chest. It is used to find out whether the heart rate and rhythm are normal or if heart damage has occurred.
- Holter monitors. These show heart impulses over time. Patients usually wear sensors attached to a small recording device for 24 hours.
Cardiac Catherization for Further Precision
Providence Medical Center was the first hospital in the Midwest to acquire an advanced cardiac catheterization laboratory. Our two, full-service laboratories provide medical imaging to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease and blockages.
Sometimes, the non-invasive tests don't provide enough information. That's why your doctor might order a cardiac catherization.
This procedure involves inserting a tube or catheter into an artery and guiding it to your heart. Then, your doctor injects contrast to highlight the area. This reveals the structure of cardiac system.
The test allows your cardiologist to measure precisely how well the heart valves and heart muscle function and whether veins or arteries are blocked or too narrow for blood to flow properly.
Cardiac catherization also allows your doctor to treat problems by inserting a balloon in the catheter to open blocked passages and stents to keep them open.
For more information, call the Cardiac Care Center at