Cardiac testing and imaging in Kansas City
Diagnosing a heart or vascular condition can quickly save or help preserve your quality of life. At HCA Midwest Health, we offer many heart screening and diagnostic tests on an outpatient basis.
Depending on your situation, your primary care physician or cardiologist may order several procedures to get accurate and complete information and help prevent heart health issues in the future.
To get a heart test or other diagnostic exam, schedule an appointment.
Tests to evaluate your heart health
Our physicians, who are board-certified in cardiology, can uncover all forms of heart disease. Our experts use cutting-edge equipment to provide comprehensive heart care and cardiac imaging. Our Kansas City hospitals and expert medical personnel use state-of-the-art imaging technology, software and protocols to reduce our patient’s exposure to radiation.
Our cardiac catheterization labs are staffed 24/7 with a highly skilled team to reduce patients' time to treatment. This imaging procedure is used to diagnose coronary artery disease, heart valve diseases and congenital heart abnormalities. It's also known as a coronary angiogram.
A catheter is inserted into an artery or groin and gently guided up to the coronary arteries during the procedure. A dye is administered via the catheter and X-ray images are taken of the arteries.
Cardiac catheterization allows cardiologists to see the heart as it pumps blood. This provides the most accurate and complete information for a physician. An angioplasty can be performed at the same time if a significant blockage is discovered, which can help prevent a potential heart attack.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
If you're experiencing heart or vascular disease symptoms, your heart doctor may order a cardiac MRI. A cardiac MRI uses magnetic waves and computers to capture two and three-dimensional images of the heart and its valves.
It can be used to identify damage from a heart attack and blockages and other structural problems with the heart.
Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)
Our state-of-the-art cardiac CT scan takes three-dimensional X-ray images of your heart. These images are primarily used to check for coronary artery disease. Your physician may order this noninvasive test if you've been experiencing symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
During a cardiac CT, the physician will administer a contrast dye intravenously to highlight the coronary arteries and check for narrowing or blockage. The test can measure blood flow changes in the coronary arteries to determine if you have significant coronary artery disease.
A cardiac CT can also help avoid unnecessary invasive testing. If a significant blockage is discovered, you may need a minimally invasive diagnostic heart catheterization.
Advanced blood flow testing
We can also use your current CT scan to create a computerized 3D model of your coronary arteries. This test calculates how much each blockage limits blood flow, allowing your doctor to develop a treatment plan specific to your heart needs.
This test is an ultrasound of the heart that uses sound waves to examine your heart’s size, shape and motion. An echocardiogram captures still and moving images of your heart without exposing you to any radiation.
There two ways echocardiograms are performed: transthoracic and transesophageal. During a transthoracic procedure, a technician applies gel to your skin and uses a transducer to take pictures of your heart. A flexible tube with a small transducer is guided down your throat into the esophagus for a transesophageal procedure. Medication is provided, so you do not experience any discomfort.
Suppose you're experiencing shortness of breath or have a heart murmur. In that case, this is usually one of the first tests your physician will order. It can help identify leaky valves, weakness, infection and can measure blood pressure. A heart echo can also be used to detect congenital heart abnormalities in babies in utero.
Heart scan (coronary calcium scan)
A calcium heart scan, or calcium scoring, is a CT scan that can detect the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. The noninvasive test is primarily recommended for men over 40 years old and women over 50 years old.
There is no prep required, and the actual test takes less than five minutes. A coronary calcium scan can pick up plaque buildup before it becomes severe, which is why it's ideal for people with no symptoms of heart disease. With this test, you can make lifestyle changes or start the medication to prevent or slow heart disease development.
This scan is usually not covered by insurance but is available for $50. In Kansas, you'll need to have your primary care physician or cardiologist order the test.
Low-dose CT cardiac imaging
The low-dose CT scanner offers cardiac computerized tomographic angiography (CTA). This is the only noninvasive way to visualize the heart and identify coronary artery disease. But more importantly, the new multi-detector CT scanner can reduce up to 50 percent of the radiation a patient is exposed to during a scan.
Cardiac CTA can determine the origin of chest pain's most dangerous causes, including coronary artery disease, aortic abnormality or a blood clot in a pulmonary artery. When a physician suspects a medical problem that is not easily detectable with a conventional physical examination, this is the diagnostic exam choice.
If you're experiencing symptoms of heart disease, your cardiologist may order a stress test. A stress test provides insight into how your heart works during physical activity. It may help expose problems that aren't obvious when your heart is at rest.
This test is not meant to detect early coronary artery disease. Patients will appear positive for the disease only if one of their arteries is narrowed by 70 percent or greater.
We offer three types of stress tests at our various hospitals:
- Treadmill stress test: Also known as an exercise stress test, it's the simplest type of stress test. It involves walking on a treadmill while your heartbeat (via an electrocardiogram), blood pressure and breathing are tested.
- Stress echo: It's an ultrasound of your heart or an echocardiogram is performed while at rest and then again immediately after exercising.
- Nuclear stress test: This test is done before and after exercising. A radioactive tracer is fed into your bloodstream and images of your heart are taken with a camera. If the tracer is unevenly distributed in an area only after exercise, it means blood flow in the area is restricted and you have a block.
Other diagnostic cardiac tests we offer
Diagnostic testing and screening are important in assessing the condition of your heart quickly and accurately. To help detect heart disease in its earliest stages, we offer a variety of even more testing options, including:
- Angiogram: This diagnostic test uses X-rays to take images of your blood vessels.
- Arterial doppler: This is a type of ultrasound that examines the amount of blood flow through your arteries and veins.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test is used to measure your heart's electrical activity.
- Electrophysiology (EP) study: An EP study tests the electrical activity of your heart to detect an arrhythmia.
- Holter monitoring: A Holter monitor is a wearable device used to continuously record your heart's activity over time.
- Implantable loop monitor: This cardiac event monitor is used to monitor your heart rhythm.
- Myocardial perfusion imaging: This is a form of nuclear stress test that shows how well blood flows through the heart muscle.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This scan helps measure the inflammation in the heart muscle.
- Tilt table testing: This test is used to see how your heart reacts to a change in position.
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