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Cardiac Diagnostic Services

For inpatients and outpatients whose physicians have noticed irregularities in heart function, our Cardiac Diagnostic Services Department provides electrocardiograph monitoring and evaluation. It evaluates chest discomfort, shortness of breath, anti-arrhythmic therapies, and pacemaker function. It also helps physicians confirm reports of heart palpitations and poor blood supply to the heart.

Services

Enhanced Counterpulsation (ECP) 
ECP therapy is a treatment option for patients with chronic angina whose condition has been unresponsive to medication or other treatments, such as cardiac bypass, stents or angioplasty.

This treatment uses advanced technology to promote the development of collateral circulation to damaged areas of the heart and usually consists of 35 individual one-hour sessions of ECP administered once daily, five days a week. ECP therapy involves little or no risk and is relatively comfortable.

Physician orders are accepted from primary care physicians, cardiologists or cardiothoracic surgeons. To schedule treatments, you can reach The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at 443-718-3000.

24- and 48-Hour Holter Monitor
A Holter monitor is a machine that can be worn for 24-48 hours to continuously record the heart's electrical activity and rhythms during normal daily activities.

Electrodes are attached to your chest and also to a small recording monitor. The Holter monitor, which is battery operated, is carried in a pocket or small pouch worn around the neck or waist. You must keep an accurate diary of activities performed while wearing the monitor. After 24-48 hours you will return the monitor and a cardiologist will look at the records and see if there have been any irregular heart rhythms. A Holter monitor may be used after a heart attack, to diagnose arrhythmia and when starting a new heart medicine. 

A physician’s order is required. To schedule an appointment, you can reach The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at 443-718-3000.

24-Hour Blood-Pressure Monitoring
Ambulatory, or 24-hour blood-pressure monitoring, is used to take regular blood pressure readings over a 24-hour period, as you conduct your normal daily activities. It uses a special automatic blood pressure monitor that records blood pressure at certain intervals throughout the day. You must keep an accurate diary of all activities.  After 24 hours, you will return the monitor and a cardiologist will look at the records and see if you need further treatment.

This kind of monitoring is often used when a doctors suspects “white coat hypertension” (a condition in which high blood pressure only occurs in the physician’s office due to stress and anxiety). Other conditions that might cause a doctor to recommend 24-hour blood pressure monitoring include syncope(fainting) or when a patient doesn’t respond to a medication. It is also a more accurate predictor of patients at high risk for a cardiac event.

A physician’s order is required. To schedule an appointment, you can reach The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at 443-718-3000.

ECHO (Echocardiography – Adult and Pediatric)
An echocardiogram (also called an ECHO) is a type of ultrasound test that is used to diagnose cardiovascular diseases. It sends high-pitched sound waves through a device called a transducer, which picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen.

ECHOs are done for variety of reasons:

  • To look for the cause of abnormal heart sounds (murmurs or clicks), an enlarged heart, unexplained chest pains, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats.
  • To check the thickness and movement of the heart wall.
  • To determine how well the heart valves are working.
  • To determine how well an artificial heart valve is working.
  • To measure the size and shape of the heart's chambers.
  • To determine cardiac performance (the ability of your heart chambers to pump blood) as well as the ejection fraction (the fraction of blood pumped out of a ventricle with each heart beat.) You might have a low ejection fraction if you have heart failure. 
  • To detect a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps, such as cardiomyopathy. 
  • To look for blood clots and tumors inside the heart.

The following types of echocardiography tests are provided at our facility:

  • Adult resting transthoracic echocardiography is the most common type of ECHO. Views of the heart are obtained by moving the transducer to different locations on your chest or abdominal wall.
  • Pediatric resting transthoracic echocardiography
  • Adult Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) testing. For this test, the probe is passed down the esophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. TEE shows clearer pictures of your heart because the probe is located closer to the heart and because the lungs and bones of the chest wall do not block the sound waves produced by the probe. A sedative and an anesthetic applied to the throat are used to make you comfortable during this test.

To schedule treatments, you can reach The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at 443-718-3000.

 

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