Cardiology Consultants has joined Medical Group of the Carolinas Cardiology
Cardiology Consultants has joined Medical Group of the Carolinas Cardiology
Determining the best course of treatment for a heart or vascular condition begins with a complete and thorough understanding of the problem. at cardiology consultants, we offer an array of tests that give us clear insight into our patients’ issues in order to prescribe the best and most efficient heart and vein treatment plans.
A heart rhythm monitor is a diagnostic test in which the electrical activity of your heart is recorded in order to identify an irregular heart rhythm, or cardiac arrhythmia, one of the common heart disorders. We use rhythm monitoring to record your heart rhythm in a number of ways, including holter monitoring, event monitoring, continuous telemetry monitoring, and remote monitoring. We also test monitoring devices using pacemaker and cardiac defibrillator interrogation.
A holter monitor is a portable ECG recorder worn by patients during normal daily activities and while sleeping. The device is typically worn for 24 hours. Our office will provide the device for patients to use.
Before we send you home, we will place electrodes on your chest. These electrodes are connected with wires to a box about the size of a deck of cards. For your convenience, this can be worn on a belt or shoulder strap.
We ask that you keep a diary while you wear the monitor, detailing your activities and your symptoms, which may include palpitations, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or lightheadedness. Make sure you note the time, and what activities you were doing when your symptoms occurred so that we are able to see the correlation between the two.
The electrical impulses are continuously recorded and stored in the holter monitor. When you return the holter monitor to us, a technician will analyze the recording and look for any rhythm abnormalities. When the full report is available, a doctor will discuss the results with you.
Similar to a holter monitor, this device is worn during normal daily activities, including sleeping, but it is worn for a longer period of time to detect arrhythmias that occur less frequently.
Before we send you home, we will place electrodes on your chest. These electrodes are connected with wires to a box about the size of deck of cards. For your convenience, this can be worn on a belt or shoulder strap.
When symptoms arise, you press a button to activate the recorder, prompting the monitor to record the event for the 60 seconds prior to your pushing the button and up to 40 seconds after the arrhythmia is over. Up to three events can be stored on the event monitor.
We will ask you to either send the recordings immediately or transfer them later over a phone line. The technician will provide the recordings for your doctor to review. If the reading indicates an emergency, the technician will instruct you to go to the emergency room.
Similar to an event monitor, this device is worn during normal daily activities including sleeping, and is typically worn for 7 to 14 days.
Before we send you home, we will place electrodes on your chest. These electrodes are connected with wires to a box about the size of a deck of cards. For your convenience, this can be worn on a belt or shoulder strap
The continuous telemetry monitor allows continuous heartbeat monitoring as you go about your daily activities. The device registers each heartbeat, and sends the information to a live monitor. Certified cardiac technicians, available 24 hours a day, analyze each transmission, respond to events that need immediate attention, and transmit diagnostic reports to your doctor.
Reporting symptoms is easy and convenient, simply use the touch screen on the monitor. The monitor transmits the symptom you entered and your ECG to the monitoring center. Integrated symptom and ECG data can help doctors rule in, or rule out, cardiac causes for symptoms such as palpitations, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
Often, pacemakers and ICDs are equipped with a special transmitter so that remote monitoring may be done. The pacemakers and ICDs automatically sends medical and technical information from your heart from the comfort of your home to your cardiologists who are treating you. This allows your doctor to monitor your condition based on accurate up-to-date clinical information at any time.
In order to send the signals from your ICD or pacemaker you will need a special transmitting device. This may look like a large mobile phone or may be a box which you will need to plug into your telephone line.
The type of transmitter you receive will depend on which company made your implant. Sending transmission from home remotely to the heart doctors office allows the cardiologist to check battery status, detect arrhythmias, provide lead data, confirm delivered therapy, and some can also check on fluid retention and therefore provide early warning signs of heart failure.
Preparing for the monitoring:
Pacemaker interrogation is a process for checking on the function of a pacemaker to make sure it is working properly and that the batteries are in good condition.
For this non-invasive procedure, our doctors will wave a wand connected to a computer over your chest. The wand and pacemaker communicate wirelessly, giving the computer access to the data in the pacemaker’s memory and information on the pacemaker’s battery life. The procedure is not painful, although sometimes patients may feel lightheaded or strange while the interrogation is happening.
This procedure is quick and will be scheduled as a 10-15 minute outpatient appointment. You do not need to undergo any special preparation for the test. Before the procedure, the doctor will ask you about your general level of health and collect information about any recent cardiac events. When the pacemaker interrogation is over, we will advise you about any programming changes made and the available battery life.
A pacemaker interrogation is recommended after the initial implantation and before any surgical procedure, even if the pacemaker has been recently checked. Electrocautery and other tools used during surgery could potentially interfere with the device, especially if the batteries are low. If we find anything is amiss, we can make necessary changes to your care plan to ensure you remain safe during the procedure.
We will check your pacemaker at regular intervals to identify problems that could lead to its malfunction.
A cardiac defibrillator interrogation is a process for checking on the function of an implanted cardiac device to ensure it is working properly and that the batteries are in good condition.
A cardiac defibrillator is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. Thin wires connect the device to your heart. If the device detects an abnormal heart rhythm, such as a heart that beats too fast or chaotically, it will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat. Cardiac defibrillators help prevent sudden death in patients with known, sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, and studies have shown that they may have a role in preventing cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who haven’t had but are at risk for life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
A cardiac defibrillator interrogation is usually recommended before any surgical procedure, even if it has been recently checked. Electrocautery and other tools used during surgery could potentially interfere with the device, especially if the batteries are low. If we find anything is amiss, we can make necessary changes to your care plan to ensure you remain safe during the procedure.
We will check your defibrillator at regular intervals to identify problems that could lead to its malfunction.
Ultrasounds and dopplers are diagnostic tests used to assess the overall function of your heart and to determine the presence of many different types of heart disease, and they include echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, venous doppler, arterial doppler, and carotid doppler.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers, allowing a sonographer to evaluate the pumping action of the heart. Echo is often combined with doppler ultrasound and color doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.
An echocardiography test is used to:
The appointment will take about 40 minutes. After the test, you are free to go.
A transesophageal echo (TEE) test is a type of echo test in which the ultrasound transducer, positioned on an endoscope, is guided down the patient’s throat into the esophagus.
The TEE test allows our doctors to get a close look at the heart’s valves and chambers without interference from the ribs or lungs. Our doctors use the TEE test when results from standard echo tests are not sufficient and a closer look at your heart is necessary.
A TEE test is used to:
If you have problems with your esophagus, such as a hiatal hernia, problems swallowing, or cancer, please let our doctors know.
The sedation given during the test causes drowsiness, dizziness, and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery. You will not be able to drive until the day after the procedure, so someone should come with you the day of the test to drive you home.
You may not be entirely awake for the test as the sedative will make you drowsy. We will keep you as comfortable as possible during the test, and we welcome you to let us know if you feel uncomfortable at any time. Afterward, you may feel a temporary soreness or numbness in your throat.
The test will take about 90 minutes. After you have recovered from the sedation given during the test, you may have a responsible adult drive you home.
After the test, wait at least 2 hours or until the numbness in your throat is gone before eating or drinking. Start with a cool liquid, and if you don’t have any problems with that, you can eat and drink as you normally would.
A venous doppler ultrasound is a test to evaluate the venous blood flow to the legs to determine if there is a deep vein thrombosis, which is the clotting of blood in the vein. Complications such as pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) occur when a clot breaks away from the vein and travels through the bloodstream.
Your doctor may also request an examination of the superficial venous system, which involves examining the great and small saphenous veins and any tributary veins, in order to look for the presence of venous reflux. Venous reflux in any of these vessels is what leads to the diagnosis of venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
An arterial doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method used to examine blood circulation in the arms and legs. It is also known as a duplex study. Noninvasive means the procedure does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation, or anesthesia.
There are no harmful side effects of the vascular ultrasound test.
A carotid doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method that examines the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain in order to assess the stroke risk from carotid artery stenosis or narrowing of the carotid arteries.
During the ultrasound:
There are no harmful side effects of this test. In addition, ultrasound does not use radiation, as X-ray tests do.
Stress tests are tests that help us find out how well your heart handles its workload when presented with a challenge such as exercise. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart.
Stress tests help us find out how well our heart handles its workload when presented with a challenge such as exercise. as your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood.
A nuclear stress test measures blood flow to the heart muscle both at rest and when the heart is under stress, or while exercising. Though it is similar to a routine exercise stress test, it also provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and areas of damaged heart muscle.
If unable to exercise on a treadmill or if requested by your physician for specific circumstances, a nuclear stress test can also be provided using a pharmacological form of stress that does not require any physical exertion such as Lexiscan.
The radioactive isotope is ordered the day before the stress test. To cancel a testing appointment, please call the office at least 48 hours in advance. Otherwise, you will be responsible and billed for the amount of $200, which is the cost of the isotope ordered for your test.
The treadmill stress test records the heart’s electrical activity, including rate and rhythm, during exercise, most often for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Exercise places stress on the heart, and performing a treadmill stress test can bring out abnormalities caused by partial blockages in the coronary arteries – abnormalities that may not be apparent at rest.
Ankle brachial index (ABI) is a simple test to evaluate blood flow to your legs. This non-invasive test determines if there is any narrowing or restriction of an artery or blood vessel that reduces blood flow.
This test is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.
ECG is a device used to record on graph paper the electrical activity of the heart. It helps to assess your heart rhythm, diagnose poor blood flow to the heart muscle, diagnose a heart attack, and diagnose abnormalities of your heart.