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Cardiac Testing

Diagnostic tests and procedures are used to determine if a person has cardiovascular disease, the type of disease, the severity and the most effective treatment methods. Mercy and Iowa Heart Center offer a full spectrum of non-invasive cardiovascular imaging and diagnostic testing. Our goal is to provide the right test for the right patient at the right time, including state-of-the-art tests not widely available.

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging tests include:

  • Echocardiography/ultrasound — use ultrasound, or high frequency sound waves, to create graphic images of the heart's structures, pumping action and direction of blood flow.
  • Nuclear cardiology — uses a radioactive tracer material to produce images of the heart to check blood supply to the heart muscle and heart function. During this test, a small amount of dye is injected into the vein and a camera "picks up" the dye, looking for areas of the heart that are not receiving enough blood.
  • Stress echocardiography — is a test to evaluate your heart's performance at rest and with exercise while you are closely monitored. It includes a treadmill or bike exercise test, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and an echocardiogram (echo/ultrasound).
  • Cardiac MRI — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that allows physicians the ability to view specific areas of your body in great detail using a strong magnet and radiofrequency waves.
  • Cardiac PET / CT — A cardiac Positron Emission Tomography — Computed Tomography evaluates the flow of blood to the heart muscle. It combines the functional information from a PET exam with the anatomical information from a CT exam into one single test.
  • Coronary CT Angiography — Coronary CTA is a non-invasive heart imaging test where high-resolution, 3-dimensional pictures of the heart and vessels are produced to determine if either fatty or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries restricting blood flow.
  • Peripheral CTA — Peripheral angiography is a non-invasive test that uses advanced CT technology with intravenous (IV) contrast (dye) to visualize vessels throughout the body and is used for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular disease.
  • Coronary Calcium Scoring
  • Transesophageal Echocardiogram — Uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a graphic outline of the heart's movement. An ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient's throat into the esophagus (the "food pipe" leading from the mouth into the stomach). An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument that is about ½ inch in diameter.
  • Vascular screening

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