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Heart Care (Cardiology)

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States and Ashtabula County ranks higher than the national and state average for heart-related deaths. ACMC's Center for Heart Care offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options to get to the bottom of your heart problems - right here in Ashtabula County. Cardiology specialists see patients full-time at ACMC and use a variety of assessments to deliver precise and accurate diagnoses.

The availability of advanced diagnostic testing is the heart of ACMC's cardiac, vascular and neurology services. The very best in state-of-the-art technology enables ACMC to provide a variety of diagnostic exams to monitor your body's health.

Diagnostic Exams

Echocardiography (Echo)

Cardiologists use an echocardiogram to evaluate the heart’s structure and can see how it is functioning. Images taken by the echocardiogram help diagnose causes of chest pain, breathing difficulties, an abnormal heart rhythm and other heart related health 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 seen 2D, 3D, black and white, color, moving, or still.

Electrocardiography (EKG)

Each time your heart beats, it creates an electrical impulse. An EKG records these impulses using tiny receivers taped to the chest, arms and legs. Twelve different views of the heart are created and recorded on paper.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

This neurological procedure measures brain activity by recording the brain's electrical impulses. EEGs are used to evaluate many neurological conditions, including epilepsy and other convulsive disorders, and to pinpoint the location of brain tumors.

Exercise Stress Test

An exercise stress test evaluates the heart as it is pushed to its limits. In this test, patients are given a continuous EKG as they walk on an electronically controlled treadmill. Treadmill EKGs are a common method of detecting coronary artery disease and help gauge a patient's overall fitness level.

Holter Monitoring

A Holter monitor is a miniature EKG monitor that can be suspended from a belt or shoulder strap. During the test, which usually lasts 24 to 48 hours, patients wear the monitor while keeping a diary of their activities and symptoms. The monitor records the heart's electrical impulses, and a doctor and technologist analyze the signals to look for abnormal heart rhythms.

Pharmacological Stress Test

If you are unable to exercise to a level adequate for an exercise stress test, persantine-thallium testing is an alternative used to detect coronary artery disease. In this procedure, medications and low-dose radioactive substances are injected into the body through an intravenous (IV) line. The heart is then scanned by a special camera. The scan is repeated two and four hours later. Heart damage can be detected by comparing the pictures.

Vascular Diagnostic Exams

  • Lower arterial.
  • Lower arterial duplex.
  • Upper arterial.
  • Upper arterial duplex.
  • Upper venous duplex.
  • Ultrasound guide for thoracentesis.
  • Carotid ultrasound.

The most common reason for a venous ultrasound exam is to search for blood clots in the veins. This exam involves having a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. Venous ultrasound provides pictures of the veins throughout the body. A doppler ultrasound study may be a part of a venous ultrasound exam. This is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel.

Arterial ultrasound is done as an alternative to arteriography and venography. It may help diagnose arteriosclerosis of the arm or legs, blood clots (DVT), or venous insufficiency. A water-soluble gel is placed on a handheld device called a transducer, which directs the high-frequency sound waves to the artery or veins being tested. Also blood pressure cuffs may be put around different parts of the body, including the thigh, calf, ankle and different points along the arm. A paste is applied to the skin over the arteries being examined. Images are created as the transducer is moved over each area.

Carotid ultrasound shows whether a waxy substance or plaque has built up in your carotid arteries. A carotid ultrasound is a painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your carotid arteries that are located on each side of your neck. The internal arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. The external carotid artery supplies oxygen-rich blood to your face, scalp and neck.

Additional Specialized Testing

  • Cardiac doppler.
  • Complete echocardiogram 2-D and M-mode.
  • Dobutamine stress echocardiography.
  • Dobutamine stress test.
  • Dual isotope stress test.
  • Low-level stress test.
  • Signal averaging ECG.
  • Stress echocardiography.