Cardiac Imaging and Testing

The Heart & Vascular Institute of Texas has the highly trained cardiac specialists and access to the advanced tools needed to diagnose and treat heart disease and cardiovascular disorders. Most tests are non-invasive and can detect heart rhythm disorders, blocked arteries and structural heart and valve problems.

However, should a patient need it, our cardiologists are trained to perform minimally invasive diagnostic cardiac catheterizations at one of our affiliate hospitals.

Imaging Studies and Tests

We offer a wide variety of imaging studies and test, including, but not limited to:
 
Cardiac CT – A cardiac CT scan provides an extremely detailed image of the heart. It is often used to detect structural heart issues and calcium build-up in the coronary arteries, which can suggest a blocked coronary artery.
 
Echocardiography – Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart. It allows cardiologists to observe the size and function of all the heart’s chambers, evaluate the valves and detect abnormalities.
 
Minimally Invasive Cardiac Catheterization – During diagnostic heart catheterization, a patient is sedated and a cardiologist threads a long thin tube through the femoral artery to the coronary arteries. A contrast dye is injected, and the cardiologist sees the flow of the dye through the blood vessels using X-ray video. A detailed view of blockages in the arteries can be detected.
 
Nuclear Imaging – Nuclear imaging uses an injectable tracer to track blood flow to the heart and is useful in detecting blockages and viewing how blood flows through cardiac tissue.
 
Stress Testing – Stress tests can help detect conditions that are only apparent when the heart is stressed. Typically, a patient walks on a treadmill with the pace increasing slightly at regular intervals. The patient’s electrocardiogram, blood pressure and heart rate are monitored closely as the patient exercises. There also are chemical stress tests that may be appropriate for certain patients.
 
Transesophogeal Echocardiography – Echocardiography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a graphic outline of the heart’s movement. A transducer, which resembles a microphone, sends sound waves into the chest and picks up echos that reflect off different parts of the heart. Echocardiography may be combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart’s valves.
 
Vascular Ultrasound – A noninvasive ultrasound method used to examine the blood circulation in the arms and legs. Non- invasive means the procedure does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia.