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Test Instructions

CAROTID ULTRASOUND 

What is a Carotid Ultrasound?

Carotid (ka-ROT-id) ultrasound is a painless and harmless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the insides of your carotid arteries.  You have two common carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck. They each divide into internal and external carotid arteries.  The internal carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. The external carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your face, scalp, and neck.

What will the test show?

This test will evaluate the size of the arteries, blood flow through the arteries and any plaque or obstructions within the arteries that may create blood flow blockages.

How is test performed?

The test is performed using a hand held probe and skin gel, which passes over the base of the neck, just below the ear, creating an image.  You will be asked to lie flat on your back for 30-40 minutes.

How do I prepare for test?

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • TAKE ALL NORMAL MEDICATIONS.
  • Wear loose fitting shirt to allow easy access to neck.

Printable PDF: Carotid Ultrasound

 

 

 

ECHOCARDIOGRAM 

What is an Echocardiogram?

The echocardiogram is a non-invasive, painless procedure which uses a transducer to transmit high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) within the heart chambers and valves. These waves bounce throughout the heart area and produce the images that detect heart damage and/or disease.

What will the test show?

The primary use of an echocardiogram is to measure structure and function of the heart. Physicians will suggest this procedure for patients who exhibit a heart murmur (abnormal heart sound), angina (chest pain), arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat), abnormal X-ray and for patients with symptoms of heart failure.

How is test performed?

Clothing from the upper body is removed and covered by a gown or sheet to keep you comfortable and maintain the privacy of females. The patient then lies on an examination table or a hospital bed.  Sticky patches or electrodes are attached to the chest and shoulders and connected to electrodes or wires. A colorless gel is then applied to the chest and the echo transducer is placed on top of it. The echo technologist then makes recordings from different parts of the chest to obtain several views of the heart. You may be asked to move from your back and to the side. Instructions may also be given for you to breathe slowly or to hold your breath. This helps in obtaining higher quality pictures. The images are constantly viewed on the monitor.  The test usually takes 30-40 minutes.

How do I prepare for test?

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • TAKE ALL MEDICATIONS AS NORMAL.
  • Wear loose fitting shirt to allow easy access to chest.

Printable PDF: Echocardiogram

 

 

 

EXERCISE TOLERANCE TEST OR STRESS TEST 

What is an Exercise Tolerance Test or Stress Test?

An Exercise Tolerance Test or Stress Test records the heart’s electrical activity (rate and rhythm) during exercise. It is useful chiefly in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. By placing the stress of exercise on the heart, the test can bring out abnormalities caused by partial blockages in the coronary arteries – abnormalities that are often completely unapparent at rest

How the Test is Performed

Electrodes will be placed on the chest the same as for an electrocardiogram (ECG). Your blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG will be recorded at rest, usually while you are lying on your back and again when standing.

You will then be asked to perform a “graded” exercise test on a motor-driven treadmill. The exercise-protocol that you will follow will be determined by the cardiologist supervising your test, but will begin at a relatively easy level and become progressively more difficult with each subsequent stage.

Your blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG will be recorded at frequent intervals during exercise and after exercise. The physicians or technologist may stop the test at any time for medical reasons. You may ask to stop the test at any time because of significant fatigue or discomfort. However, we encourage you to exercise as long as possible so that we may assess your heart under maximum stress.oxygen because of narrowed or blocked arteries.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Since your blood pressure will be checked periodically during the test, wear a short-sleeved shirt or blouse.  Do not wear boots, jumpsuits, overalls, or a dress. 
  • Please do not eat or drink anything with caffeine in it for eight hours before your stress test. Items with caffeine include: colas, coffee, tea, chocolate, and certain cold remedies. Do not eat anything 2-4 hours prior to the stress test. 
  • Please do not smoke or exercise 8 hours before testing.
  • Do not take any beta blockers (medicines that slow your heart rate) such as Metoprolol, Toprol, Atenolol, Coreg, Labetolol, Verapamil, Cardizem, Diltiazem, or Clonidine.
  • Do not take diabetic medications or insulin’s the morning of the test.

Printable PDF:Exercise Tolerance Test

 

 

 

HOLTER MONITORING

What is an Holter Monitor?

 A Holter monitor is a recorder that picks up electrical signals from your heart so that your doctor may analyze your heart rhythm.

How is test performed?

  • When you arrive in the office, a medical assistant will connect you to the Holter, which you will wear for a period of 24 – 48 hours, depending on your doctor’s instructions.
  • The medical assistant will first prep your skin in order to make a secure connection between your skin and the electrodes.  Connected to the recorder are five to seven electrodes which the technician places on your chest and secures with tape.
  • Before you leave, the medical assistant will give you a diary in which you will enter your activities and symptoms.  You will need to bring this diary back with you when you come back to the office to have your Holter removed.  The return appointment is 24 – 48 hours later, but the medical assistant will confirm your return time.
  • The Holter is lightweight and portable and can be worn around your waist like a fanny-pack or Walkman.  There is no preparation, however, we do suggest that you bathe or shower before your appointment because you will not be able to get the monitor wet in any way during the recording.
  • You will not be able to use an electric blanket while wearing the Holter monitor.

Printable PDF:Holter Monitor

 

 

 

MUGA SCAN INSTRUCTIONS

What is a MUGA Scan?

A MUGA scan (Multi Gated Acquisition Scan) is a time-proven nuclear medicine test designed to evaluate the function of the right and left ventricles of the heart, thus allowing informed diagnostic intervention in heart failure.

WHAT TO DO:

  • BRING A MEDICATION LIST WITH YOU FOR THIS APPOINTMENT (VERY IMPORTANT TO DO THIS)
  • NO CHILDREN ARE ALLOWED (RADIOACTIVE AREAS)
  • EXPECT TO BE AT OUR OFFICE FOR AT LEAST 1 – 2 HOURS
  • PLEASE NOTE: Our office will call you 2 days prior to your appointment, for these tests.  If our office does not speak with you, and a message is left, you must return the call to confirm by 10:00am the day before, or your appointment will be cancelled.  If you must cancel the test, you must call before 5:00pm, the day before or a fee of $150.00 will be billed to your account.  This fee covers the cost of the medication, ordered specifically for you.

 Printable PDF: Muga

 

 

 

 

 

STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAM

What is a Stress Echocardiogram?

Stress echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound imaging to show how well your heart muscle is working to pump blood to your body. It is mainly used to detect a decrease in blood flow to the heart from narrowing in the coronary arteries.

What will the test show?

The primary use of an echocardiogram is to measure structure and function of the heart. Physicians will suggest this procedure for patients who exhibit a heart murmur (abnormal heart sound), angina (chest pain), arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat), abnormal X-ray and for patients with symptoms of heart failure.  The stress echocardiogram is performed to see whether your heart muscle is getting enough blood flow and oxygen when it is working hard (under stress).

How is test performed?

A resting echocardiogram will be done first. While you lie on your left side with your left arm out, a small device called a transducer is held against your chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart.  After completion of the echocardiogram you will be asked to walk on a treadmill.  Slowly (about every 3 minutes), you will be asked to walk faster and on an incline.  In most cases, you will need to walk for around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your level of fitness and your age. Your doctor will ask you to stop:

  • When your heart is beating at the target rate
  • When you are too tired to continue
  • If you are having chest pain or a change in your blood pressure that worries the provider administering the test

Your blood pressure and heart rhythm (ECG) will be monitored throughout the procedure and an IV will be started as part of protocol for emergency access.

More echocardiogram images will be taken while your heart rate is increasing, or when it reaches its peak. The images will show whether any parts of the heart muscle do not work as well when your heart rate increases. This is a sign that part of the heart may not be getting enough blood or oxygen because of narrowed or blocked arteries.    The test usually takes 30-40 minutes.

How do I prepare for test?

  • Wear loose fitting shirt to allow easy access to chest and running shoes.
  • Do not eat or drink anything 4-6 hours before exam.
  • Do not take any beta blockers (medicines that slow your heart rate) such as Metoprolol, Toprol, Atenolol, Coreg, Labetolol, Verapamil, Cardizem, Diltiazem, or Clonidine.
  • Do not take diabetic medications or insulin’s the morning of the test.

Printable PDF: Stress Echocardiogram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Heart & Leg Center, PA
3637 Cape Center Drive
Fayetteville, NC  28304
910.491.1760

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