Diagnostic Cardiac Testing
Accurate evaluation and diagnosis of cardiac problems requires sophisticated medical knowledge. At Greenwich Hospital, cardiac diagnostic tests are performed by board-certified cardiologists and interventional cardiologists affiliated with the Yale New Haven Hospital Heart and Vascular Center.
The following tests are offered at Greenwich Hospital:
24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring
A portable blood pressure monitor is worn for 24 hours and records blood pressure during normal activities.
64-slice volume CT scan
A combination of X-rays and computer technology captures detailed images of the heart. The 64-slice scanner identifies cardiac disease that is often missed by less advanced scanners. It also aids physicians in diagnosing disease, viewing internal abnormalities and assessing the extent of trauma damage. The 64-slice CT scan is more than twice as fast as traditional scanners.
Coronary Calcium Scan
Calcium deposits in the heart’s coronary arteries indicate the presence of coronary plaque, also known as atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. Plaque can result in narrowing or blockages that can reduce blood flow to the heart and increase the risk for heart attack or stroke. Test results of a coronary calcium CT scan are given as a score indicating the amount of calcium present as evidence of calcium buildup in the coronary artery
Learn more about Coronary Calcium Scans
A thin catheter (hollow tube) is guided through a vein or artery into the heart to look for blockages in the coronary arteries. Special X-ray equipment is used to guide the movement of this catheter inside the body.
A thin catheter is inserted into a vein or artery in the groin and guided to the heart to measure the heart’s electrical activity and to diagnose arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).
Ultrasound waves (high frequency sound waves) are used to create a moving picture of the heart. This noninvasive test also allows physicians to see the heart beating, view the structures of the heart and evaluate blood flow through the heart muscle.
Echocardiography is performed while the patient is exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike. Results are compared with the resting echocardiogram to assess the heart’s response to stress or exercise.
A special catheter, called the “Swan-Ganz,” allows physicians to monitor blood flow and pressure in the heart.
A small battery-powered portable electrocardiogram (ECG) machine records the heart’s electrical activity during a period of normal activity (usually 24-48 hours). A physician then evaluates the recording for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Metabolic Syndrome Screening
Metabolic syndrome is the presence of a cluster of risk factors such as hypertension, elevated glucose levels, abdominal obesity and abnormal cholesterol levels. Occurring together, they significantly increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Peripheral Vascular Studies
There are several different ways to look at hardening of the arteries including ultrasound, CT scan or MRI, or invasive arteriography. These tests can show the location and severity of a block and can be used to diagnosis the presence of peripheral vascular disease (damage to arteries and veins far away from the heart).
A stress test measures the electrical activity of the heart while the patient exercises on a treadmill. Measurements also include heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and exertion level.
Nuclear Perfusion Scan
This nuclear scan is similar to a routine stress test. It also includes imaging of the heart muscle to show areas not receiving enough blood. It can be performed at rest or during exercise.
This test determines whether an individual is prone to sudden drops in blood pressure during position changes. The patient is safely secured to the table and tilted from a lying to standing position while blood pressure and other vital signs are monitored.
Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)
A small ultrasound device is passed down the esophagus to provide a clearer image of heart structures.