Finding and Treating Heart and Blood Vessel Disease
How do I find out if I have heart disease?
In an angiogram(AN-gee-oh-gram) or arteriogram (ar-TEER-ee-oh-gram), the health care provider injects dye into the blood vessels and then takes X rays. This test shows whether arteries are narrowed or blocked. A coronary angiogram checks for narrowing or blockages in the blood vessels that go to the heart. A cerebral arteriogram checks the blood vessels that go to the brain.
Angiography See angiogram.
Angioplasty Angioplasty (AN-gee-oh-plas-tee), also called percutaneous (per-cue-TAYN-ee-us) coronary intervention (PCI) or balloon angioplasty, is a procedure used to remove a blockage in a blood vessel to the heart (coronary angioplasty) or the brain (carotid angioplasty.) A small tube with a balloon attached is threaded into the narrowed or blocked blood vessel. Then the balloon is inflated, opening the narrowed artery. A wire mesh tube, called a stent, may be left in place to help keep the artery open. Angioplastymay be done during a heart attack.
Ankle brachial index
Atest called an ankle brachial (BRAY-kee-al) index or ABI is used to diagnose PAD. This test uses sound waves (ultrasound) to compare the blood pressure in the patient’s ankles to the blood pressure in the patient’s arms. If the blood pressure in the ankles is lower than the pressure in the arms, the patientmay have PAD. The ABI also tells whether the amount of blood flow in the legs is reduced.
See coronary artery bypass graft.
Cardiac catheterization (CATH-ih-ter-ize-A-shun) is used as part of other tests to find and treat heart disease. A catheter (a long, thin tube) is inserted into an artery and guided into a blood vessel of the heart.
Carotid artery surgery
Carotid (kah-RAH-tihd) artery surgery, also called carotid endarterectomy (en-dar-teh-REK-teh-mee) or CEA, is used to remove buildups of fat inside the artery and to restore blood flow to the brain.
Chest X ray
A chest X ray shows the size and shape of the heart and can also show lung congestion.
Coronary artery bypass graft
During a coronary artery bypass graft, also called a bypass or CABG (pronounced “cabbage”), a blood vessel taken fromthe leg, wrist, or chest is attached to the coronary artery to bypass a blockage and restore blood flow to the heart. Abypass graft can also be used for blood vessels leading to the brain.
Health care providers use electron-beamcomputed tomography (to-MOG-rah-fee) (EBCT) ormultidetector computed tomography (MDCT) to look for calcium deposits in the coronary arteries, a sign of possible heart disease.
A CT scan, also called computed tomography, uses special scanning techniques to provide images of organs such as the heart or the brain.
An echocardiogram(EK-oh-CAR-dee-oh-gram) uses ultrasound to produce images of the heart and blood vessels on a screen. Results show whether the heart is pumping blood correctly. Astress echocardiogramuses ultrasound and either exercise ormedicine to provide images of the heart and blood vessels under stress.
An electrocardiogram(ee-LEC-tro-CAR-dee-oh-gram), also called an ECG or EKG, provides information about heart rate and rhythmand shows whether there has been damage or injury to the heart muscle.
Exercise perfusion test
An exercise perfusion (per-FYOO-shun) test, also called a stress nuclear perfusion test, uses small amounts of radioactive material to produce images of blood flow to the heart as a patient exercises.
Exercise stress test
An exercise stress test is used to find heart disease that is evident only during physical activity. This test can also help a patient choose themost appropriate physical activity program. Also called a treadmill test, a stress test uses an ECG tomeasure how the heart performs during activity, such as walking on amoving treadmill. A medication stress test usesmedicine instead of exercise to increase the heart rate.
A Holter monitor is a small, portable machine that records the heart’s electrical activity. The person wearing the monitor keeps track of symptoms and activities for the evaluation period. Readings on the machine are compared with the person’s symptoms.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses special scanning techniques to provide images of body tissues. MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) usesMRI to examine blood vessels.
Nuclear heart scan
Anuclear heart scan, also called a SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) scan, uses small amounts of radioactivematerial to check heart function, either while the body is at rest or during exercise. This test also can check the blood vessels that go to the brain.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a special scanningmethod to provide images of body tissues.
See exercise stress test.
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