The ACMC Center for Heart Care is already putting its latest diagnostic tool to work battling heart problems in Ashtabula County. ACMC recently added a 3-D echocardiogram unit to its tools for diagnosing and treating heart issues. Cardiologists use an echocardiogram to evaluate the heart's structure and watch how it is functioning. Images taken by the echocardiogram unit help diagnose causes of chest pain, breathing difficulties, abnormal heart rhythms and other heart-related health problems.
"Seeing a three-dimensional image of the heart while it is beating is a game-changer for diagnosis," said Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Perry Fleisher, MD. "We can now see the blood flowing through the heart from all sides. We can measure the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat. We can see valves opening and closing and can detect any abnormalities that indicate heart problems."
The procedure involves no pain and is noninvasive. A technician moves a transducer (similar to a microphone) across the body. Sound waves produced by the transducer bounce off the heart tissue and are compiled by computer software that creates a moving image of the heart. It is a painless, safe way to create images of the beating heart and is similar to use of an ultrasound to show images of a baby in the womb. Images can be color or black and white, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or seen as a movie or still photos.
The ACMC Foundation, through its 2016 heart care campaign, made the purchase of the new 3-D echocardiogram unit possible. Members of the community, physicians, hospital staff and others supported the campaign.
"The ACMC Foundation has once again shown that our friends and neighbors are supportive of our mission to improve healthcare in Ashtabula County," said ACMC Healthcare Systems President and CEO Michael Habowski. "The 3-D echocardiogram gives our physicians more options to confirm their diagnosis, so they can develop a treatment plan that is best for each patient."
Beyond giving physicians greater detail of the heart, the new echocardiogram is portable. Judith Tully, Director of Cardiac and Specialty Services, stated that the new equipment is used daily and enhances cardiac care for the residents of Ashtabula County. "The portability of the unit means the testing equipment can move to the patient."
In addition to the new 3-D echocardiogram unit, ACMC continues to upgrade technology to provide faster and more detailed results.
A mammogram remains the gold standard for early diagnosis of breast cancer. ACMC has used digital mammography for several years, but the new 3-D technology at ACMC provides even greater detail for radiologists to see potential health risks and may reduce the number of false positives.
A new CT scanner provides radiologists with a 3-D image with greater resolution, which means radiologists can see tiny abnormalities. It also is more comfortable for patients and reduces the amount of radiation used during testing.
The ACMC Foundation conducts ongoing campaigns to provide medical equipment and supports a variety of healthcare initiatives at ACMC. For more information about the ACMC Foundation, contact Executive Director Tami Netkowicz at 440.997.6605 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also donate online at acmchealth.org/foundation/giving-opportunities.