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Non-Invasive Testing

Image of man testing non invasivelyEchocardiogram: An echocardiogram (often called "echo") is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. During an echocardiogram test, ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) that come from a hand-held wand placed on your chest, is used to provide pictures of the hearts valves and chambers and help the sonographer evaluate the pumping action of the heart. Echo is often combined with Doppler ultrasound to evaluate blood flow across the heart's valves.

Stress Exercise Echocardiogram: This combines an exercise test with an echocardiogram. An "echo" test is first done at rest, then during or immediately after exercise. Doctors then compare the images side by side. The findings allow doctors to learn how well your heart pumps when it is made to work harder. In patients with coronary heart disease, the area of heart muscle supplied by a narrowed artery does not pump as well as the rest of the heart during exercise.

Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG): This records the electrical activity of your heart at rest. It can show a new heart attack, previously damaged heart muscle, enlarged heart chambers, abnormal heart rhythms, and other heart conditions.

Coumadin Clinic: The Coumadin Clinic is designed to assist the providers and their patients who take the anticoagulant drug known as Coumadin or Warfarin (generic name) with education and finger stick blood testing. In the clinic, patients are educated about:

  • The drug and its interactions with other drugs and food that patients eat
  • The uses of the drug and the reason they are taking it
  • The expected effects of the drug
  • The importance of monitoring the drug level by finger stick testing on a regularly scheduled basis
  • Other important aspects of being on the drug Coumadin

Your cardiologist will enroll you in the clinic if he is prescribing Coumadin as part of your treatment. At the first visit, the nurse will ask you for some specific information about your health history as it relates to bleeding disorders, and about any medications, both prescription and over the counter, that you are taking.

Graded Exercise Test (GXT): The exercise stress test is a test designed to observe the electrical activity of your heart under the stress of exercising on a treadmill. This test can detect changes in your EKG in response to an increasing exercise load, and helps your provider detect signs of heart problems, such as decreased amount of blood flow to certain areas of your heart muscle. During the test, you are observed for changes in your heart rate or rhythm and changes in your blood pressure.

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram: This combines a pharmacological test with an echocardiogram in patients who can not walk on the treadmill. Dobutamine is given in place of walking on the treadmill; this is a drug that produces an effect on the heart similar to exercise. An "echo" test is first done at rest and throughout administration of Dobutamine. Doctors then compare the images side by side. The findings allow doctors to learn how well your heart pumps when it is made to work harder. In patients with coronary heart disease, the area of heart muscle supplied by a narrowed artery does not pump as well as the rest of the heart during exercise.

Holter Monitor: A holter monitor is a small recording device, about the size of a PDA that records your heart rate and electrical pattern for an extended amount of time (usually 24-48 hours). The test report is analyzed and reviewed by your provider and is used to develop or change a plan or treatment.

Event Monitor: An event monitor is a diagnostic tool that will provide doctors with a knowledge base of your heart rhythm when associated with symptoms. The event recorder is a battery operated device that allows patients to manually record an EKG by pressing a button to correlate any symptom they may be having for an extended amount of time, usually 30 days. The test report is analyzed and reviewed by your provider and is used to develop or change a plan or treatment.

  • Nuclear Stress Test with Cardiolite: A test with Cardiolite consists of taking pictures of your heart in two phases: a stress phase and a resting phase using a gamma camera. A radioactive substance, called a tracer, produces images of the heart muscle. During the test, a small amount of tracer is injected into a vein in your arm during the stress phase. The tracer travels in the bloodstream and is picked up by the heart muscle cells. In patients with heart disease, the nuclear stress test helps identify areas of the heart muscle that do not receive enough blood flow.

  • Lexiscan Cardiolite Stress: This type of nuclear stress uses a pharmacological agent called Lexiscan in place of walking on the treadmill.

  • Dobutamine Cardiolite Stress: This type of nuclear stress uses a pharmacological agent called Dobutamine in place of walking on the treadmill.

  • Exercise Cardiolite Stress: During this type of stress test the patient will be walking on the treadmill to increase their heart rate.

Device Clinic: Device Clinic: Pacemaker, Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD), Biventricular (BiV) pacemakers/ICD, and Insertable Loop Recorder testing is done on a daily basis in the clinic. Follow up visits are necessary to see how well your device is working for your heart. At these visits, a technician applies a wand from the programmer over the device and it "talks" to the device making sure everything is working properly. Information transmitted from the device is analyzed, and a report can be printed. The test is painless and takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. If the test indicates the need for any adjustments to be made, the technician is qualified to make them while you are here. Follow up is typically every 3 months.

Carotid Ultrasound: This is a painless test that uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the insides of the two large arteries in your neck. These arteries supply your brain with blood. You have one carotid artery on each side of you neck. Carotid ultrasound show whether plaque has narrowed your carotid arteries.

ABI: Arterial Doppler is a scan of the lower extremities, done using a handheld device (transducer) applied to the areas of the legs where the arteries are located. Sound waves are used to produce a visual image of the actual arteries, and to measure the blood flow in them. The scan can detect the severity and location of any blockages in the arteries that supply your legs with blood flow. Your provider uses this information to determine the best course of treatment for you.

EECP: This is an outpatient treatment for angina and heart failure. Treatments are usually given for an hour each day, five days a week, for a total of 35 hours. During treatment, you lie on a comfortable treatment table with large blood pressure-like cuffs wrapped around your legs and buttocks. These cuffs deflate at specific times between your heartbeats. Your heart rate will be monitored through an EKG and oxygen will be measured through a sensor on your finger.