When it comes to uncovering the cause or extent of heart and vascular problems, all of the latest tools and techniques are available to our heart and vascular physicians.
As physicians examine each patient’s condition to pinpoint its cause and plan for treating the problem, they have access to many tests and procedures for diagnosing heart disease and vascular disease, including:
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3-D echocardiogram — uses ultrasound waves to investigate the action of the heart, presented in a three-dimensional (3-D) image. We have the longest clinical experience in the state using this technique. Learn more about echocardiograms.
64-Slice LightSpeed Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) Scan — a powerful medical CT scanner that is unique in its ability to produce clear, three-dimensional images of blood vessels to detect coronary artery disease (CAD); VCT combines rapid X-ray scanning with multiple CT to produce highly detailed images of the heart and vessels. We were the first in the world to use the 64-Slice LightSpeed VCT Scan technology. Learn more about the 64-Slice LightSpeed VCT Scan.
Advanced lipid profile testing – a more sophisticated test that goes beyond standard screening to further identify the various components of cholesterol. Learn more about tests and treatments like advanced lipid profile testing provided through our Preventive Cardiology and Program.
Angiography — a procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a dye that outlines them on X-ray.
Ankle brachial index (ABI) – a simple, non-invasive, painless test that compares blood pressure readings in a person’s ankles with blood pressure readings in the arms. Learn more about ABI and other tests provided in our vascular laboratory.
Cardiac catheterization — the process of inserting a catheter into a vein or artery and guiding it through the heart chambers and surrounding vessels for purposes of examination or treatment. Learn more about cardiac catheterization.
Cardiac mapping, 3-D computerized electro-anatomical mapping — used to locate abnormal areas in the heart’s electrical system; electrode catheters are inserted into the heart to track the heart’s electrical signals. Our electrophysiologists use this sophisticated technique to visualize the heart and sources of irregular beats (arrhythmias). Learn more about our Arrhythmia Program for information about this test and other resources for patients with irregular heartbeats.
Cardiac MRI (cardiac magnetic resonance imaging) — the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain images of the heart; MRI uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. Learn more about MRI.
Cardiac nuclear medicine imaging — uses radioactive materials (tracers) to obtain diagnostic images of specific parts of the heart and vessels. Two main types of these tests are multiple gated acquisition (MUGA) and nuclear medicine stress tests, also called myocardial perfusion imaging. Learn more about cardiac nuclear imaging.
Cardiac ultrasound — see echocardiogram
Carotid duplex scan — a non-invasive vascular ultrasound test to assess the blood flow of the arteries that supply blood from the heart through the neck to the brain. Learn more about duplex scanning and other tests provided in our vascular laboratory.
Cholesterol test, lipid panel — a commonly used blood test that measures levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Learn more about resources like cholesterol tests provided through our Preventive Cardiology Program.
Coronary artery calcium scan/scoring — a non-invasive test that uses CT imaging to measure the amount of calcium in the arteries. Also called a heart scan, it helps determine the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart attack.
CT angiography (CTA)/cardiac CTA — produces images of the blood vessels and tissues in a particular body structure by combining computerized tomography (CT) scanning with an injection of a special dye. A CT scan is a type of X-ray that uses a computer to make cross-sectional images of the body. Cardiac CTA produces images of the heart’s structure and function, including valves and chambers. We are leading the way in next-generation CT angiography with the 64-Slice LightSpeed Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) scanner, offering the most advanced, detailed images available. Learn more about CTA.
Dobutamine stress echo test — an echocardiography test that involves taking a medication called dobutamine while being closely monitored; the medication stimulates the heart as if a person is exercising; the test is used to evaluate a person’s heart and valve function when he or she is unable to exercise on a treadmill or stationary cycle. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Drug stress test — a test that involves taking a medication while being closely monitored; the medication stimulates the heart as if a person is exercising; the test is used to evaluate a person’s heart and valve function when he or she is unable to exercise on a treadmill or stationary cycle
Duplex ultrasound — a procedure that combines Doppler flow and conventional imaging information to allow physicians to see the structure of blood vessels; duplex ultrasound shows how blood is flowing through the vessels and measures the speed of the flow of blood; it can also estimate the diameter of a blood vessel and the amount of obstruction (if any) in a blood vessel
Echocardiogram (“echo”) — a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart; the picture is much more detailed than an X-ray image and involves no radiation exposure. Our state-of-the-art Echocardiography Laboratory performs thousands of echo procedures a year, including transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), intracardiac echocardiogram (ICE), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) evaluation. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) — a non-invasive procedure for recording electrical changes in the heart. We perform about 30,000 electrocardiography procedures each year. Other types of EKGs include holter monitors, event recorders and loop recorders. Learn more about electrocardiograms.
Electrophysiology (EP) study — an invasive procedure that tests the heart's electrical system. EP studies may be performed to help evaluate the effectiveness of medications, to “map” or locate the point of origin of a dysrhythmia, or to gather other important details about the patient’s condition. Learn more about EP studies.
Exercise stress test — a screening tool to test the effect of exercise on the heart; also called heart stress test or treadmill stress test.
Extremity arterial mapping – uses non-invasive duplex ultrasound technology to examine blood flow in the arteries in the arms and legs. Learn more about extremity arterial mapping and other tests provided in our vascular laboratory.
Event recorder (or loop recorder) – a device that records irregular heart rhythm episodes over extended periods of time. Learn more about event recorders.
Heart stress test — a screening test used to diagnose the presence and extent of coronary artery disease (CAD) during exercise
Holter monitor – a device that records heart rhythms over 24-48 hours. Learn more about holter monitors.
Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) — a type of echocardiography that provides ultrasound images from inside the heart muscle; a tiny ultrasound probe is mounted on the tip of a catheter so it can be moved through the blood vessels directly into the heart. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) — a procedure in which a tiny ultrasound device is placed into the coronary artery to give a cross-sectional view from inside the artery; IVUS can aid in the selection and sizing of stents and balloons, and can show that a stent has been properly placed
Lipid panel – see cholesterol test
Multiple gated acquisition (MUGA) — a nuclear imaging test that measures how much blood the heart pumps or “ejects” with each contraction (called the ejection fraction) and how quickly that blood is ejected. Learn more about cardiac nuclear imaging.
Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography (MRI/MRA) — cardiac MRI uses radio waves, a magnetic field and a computer to create highly advanced images of the heart. Magnetic resonance angiography is a type of MRI that looks specifically at the blood vessels. Learn more about MRI and MRA.
Myocardial perfusion imaging — a test that evaluates coronary arteries by determining changes in blood flow to the heart during exercise; also called nuclear medicine stress test. Learn more about cardiac nuclear imaging.
Nuclear medicine stress test — a test that evaluates coronary arteries by determining changes in blood flow to the heart during exercise; also called myocardial perfusion imaging. Learn more about cardiac nuclear imaging.
Stress echo/doppler exams – used specifically for evaluating valvular disease, an echocardiogram is done before, during, and sometimes after the heart is stressed, usually through exercise. The Doppler exam, which creates images of the heart in motion, uses sounds waves to measure the direction, amount and speed of the heart’s blood flow. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Supine bicycle stress test — a stress test performed while a person, lying flat in bed, pedals a bike which is attached to the bed.
Tilt table test — a procedure to determine the cause of blood pressure drop and fainting; the patient is placed on a table which is tilted upward by degrees to a vertical position; blood pressure, pulse and symptoms are recorded with the patient in each position.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) — a test in which an ultrasound probe is placed close to the heart to provide clearer pictures. A tube with a small ultrasound probe on it is gently placed into a patient’s esophagus. TEE can help diagnose abnormalities of the heart, and show the size of the heart, how well it pumps and damage to heart tissue. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) — a test in which an ultrasound transducer, which emits sound waves, is placed on the chest in the area of the heart; a TTE may be done to detect a problem in a heart valve, determine the size and functioning of the ventricles, evaluate the heart after a stroke, check for fluid collection in and around the heart, and look for congenital defects of the heart. Learn more about echocardiograms.
Treadmill exercise test – a variety of heart and vascular tests can be conducted while a patient walks on a treadmill to assess the heart during exercise; also called heart stress test and exercise stress test.
Vascular and interventional radiology — the diagnosis and treatment of blocked blood vessels using minimally invasive image-guided procedures
Venous duplex ultrasound – combines Doppler (high-frequency sound waves) flow and conventional ultrasound imaging to assess the structure of blood vessels, how blood is flowing through the vessels and the speed at which blood flows. Learn more about venous duplex ultrasound and other tests provided in our vascular laboratory.
Chicago Man Benefits From Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery
Dr. Robert Boxer had a history of heart problems, including a leaky heart valve. He traveled from the Chicago area to seek out the expertise of Dr. Michael Salinger, who repaired the valve. Dr. Boxer was home for dinner the following evening.
Inspired by Her Care, This Patient Became a Nurse
When Nicole collapsed from an undetected heart condition, our vascular surgeons had to amputate her legs because of her compromised blood flow. With the help of prosthetics, Nicole learned to walk again. Now, Nicole is a nurse at Froedtert Hospital.