The first step in addressing heart or vascular problems is to correctly diagnose the condition so that appropriate treatment can be implemented. At Texas Cardiology Associates, we use the most up-to-date procedures to diagnose and treat heart and vascular disease. Listed here are a number of the medical tests we may perform to help determine the exact nature of your problem.

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM ECG/EKG
This test determines your underlying heart rhythm. The EKG helps diagnose irregular heart rhythms or abnormalities.

STRESS TESTING
This test stresses the heart by increasing your heart rate, while monitoring your heart rate and blood pressure. This test can be performed through a regular treadmill or with a chemical agent, if you are unable to run on a treadmill. The treadmill-only stress test monitors your heart rate and blood pressure, while having an EKG attached to observe for any abnormal EKG rhythms during the testing. The nuclear stress test, stresses the heart via treadmill or chemical agent to increase the heart rate. During your visit, our nuclear technician places an IV prior to the procedure, have the patient run on the treadmill or wait until the chemical agent is in your system. Afterwards an imaging agent is injected and the patient is placed on a scanner similar to an x-ray machine. The imaging agent creates images of your heart muscle. If there is inadequate blood flow to your heart, the image will show as a light spot because the imaging agent cannot fully circulate that area.

ULTASOUND STUDIES (ARTERIAL, CAROTID, VENOUS)
These studies use ultrasound waves to assess blood flow to the arteries or the veins on your legs or arms. The carotid ultrasound determines the blood flow of the arteries on your neck that provides blood flow to your head.

HOLTER MONITORING
This test is a continuous recording via electrocardiogram, of the patient’s heart rhythm over a 24-hour period. This assesses and detects irregular heart rhythm that may not be seen during a 6 second strip of an EKG during a patient’s visit.

REMOTE AND IN-OFFICE PACEMAKER AND DEFIBRILLATOR MONITORING
We provide remote and in-office interrogation (capture) as well as programming of a heart rate and rhythms from an implanted device such as a pacemaker or ICD (Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator) in our facility.

ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY
TRANSESOPHAGEAL ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY (TEE) and 2D ECHO
This test uses ultrasound waves to determine any abnormalities in the structures of the heart.  This is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. The pictures allow our physicians to show the size and shape of your heart along with information about heart valves and muscle power. This test can determine the areas of the heart where the muscles are not contracting as well due to previous injury from a heart attack or areas of diminished blood flow.

CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION
Also known as Coronary Angiography, this procedure is performed in the catheterization laboratory at the hospital. This test allows our cardiologists to measure the pressure inside the heart, evaluate for any blockages in the coronary arteries  and determine the treatment plan based on the findings.

CARDIAC AND PERIPHERAL VASCULAR ANGIOGRAPHY
Coronary Angiography uses dye and x-rays to provide a better view of the blocked arteries. Cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which a catheter is threaded through the groin or the arm and into the heart. As the dye is injected, x-ray pictures are taken simultaneously. This provides a more accurate visualization of any blockages in the arteries of the heart.

Peripheral angiogram uses the same concept as the cardiac angiogram as it finds narrowed or blocked arteries that supply blood flow to the legs that is caused by Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). PAD causes pain or discomfort typically with movement and resolves with rest. Patients who are long time smokers are at increased risk for developing PAD along with hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus. This procedure helps our cardiologist determine if a balloon or a stent, a small wire mesh tube, is needed to open up the blocked artery or if bypass is required to promote blood flow to the legs.

Vein Stenting is a procedure to open constricting veins, similar to arterial stenting, utilized in vein disease.

For a more detailed description on our interventions, please refer to Patient Education.

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