What to Expect

2D Echocardiogram with Colorflow and Contrast

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound or sound wave test of the heart. It is used to evaluate the size, thickness, and pumping action of the heart. It can also help evaluate murmurs, valve problems, or fluid around the heart.

The test is noninvasive, which means no needles, catheters, or dyes are used. Ultrasound is used to create a picture of the heart, including the blood vessels, valves, atria and ventricles. Gel is placed on the skin over the area to be studied. An instrument, called a transducer, is placed on your skin. Sound waves are transmitted from the transducer. The sound waves reflect off the tissues and organs to create a picture that can be seen on a screen. Blood flow through the blood vessels can be heard as the test is being completed.
If you need to reschedule the test or have any questions regarding these instructions. please call our office at (616) 717-5141.

Patient Instructions:

  1. Wear two-piece clothing.
  2. Allow approximately 1 hour.
  3. Your physician will be notified of the results.

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Exercise & Pharmocological Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Test

The test takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.

An Exercise & Pharmocological Myocardial Perfusion Imaging test uses a radioactive imaging agent (not a dye) to produce pictures of the heart muscle. The imaging agent gives off a small amount of radiation which can be seen with a special camera. The amount of radiation exposure during this test is very small and poses no health risk. The test will help your doctor determine if there are areas of your heart which do not receive enough blood supply due to coronary artery disease. Areas of your heart which may have been damaged from a previous heart attack may also be seen. Prior to the test an IV will be started. During the rest portion of the test, you will receive an injection of the radioactive imaging agent, and pictures will be taken of your heart. For the stress portion of the test, a medication (Adenosine) will be given through the IV to simulate exercise by dilating the blood vessels of the heart. During the infusion, you will be continuously monitored for blood pressure, heart rate, rhythm and ECG changes. You will be given an injection of the radioactive imaging agent during the infusion. Following the Adenosine infusion, pictures will be taken to determine blood flow to the heart muscle.

Patient Instructions:

  1. No caffeine 24 hours before your test. (This includes decaffeinated beverages, chocolate, and caffeine containing medications such as Anacin and Excedrin.)
  2. Do not eat or drink anything four hours prior to the test.
  3. If you have lung problems such as asthma, emphysema, or COPD, please let the nurse or technologist know prior to the test.
  4. Take all your regular medications, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. If you take any medications for breathing problems, please consult with the nurse or technologist. Any medications containing Aminophylline or Theophylline should not be taken for 48 hours prior to the test. If you take Persantine or Dipyridamole pills, please consult with the nurse or technologist.
  5. Wear two-piece clothing and comfortable shoes. No shirts with metal snaps.
  6. No smoking 24 hours prior to the test.
  7. Your physician will be notified of the results.

If you need to reschedule the test or have any questions regarding these instructions. please call our office at (616) 717-5141.

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Cardiac Catheterization

A Cardiac Catheterization allows a physician to examine a patient’s heart for pumping function, check for blockage in the arteries bringing blood to the heart, and measure pressures within the heart. Patients are usually given a mild sedative prior to the procedure. This will help you feel more relaxed and maybe a bit sleepy. This test is done in a sterile room with special cameras to take x-ray pictures of your heart. Most cardiac catheterizations are done through a large artery in the groin, although they can be done from the wrist or elbow area. The nurse or technician will cleanse and shave the groin (or arm) area and cover you with sterile drapes. The doctor will then numb the area and insert a small hollow tube or sheath into the artery in your groin (or arm). The physician can then thread special catheters (long, thin plastic tubes) up to the heart. Through these specially shaped catheters, the physician can inject x-ray contrast dye and take x-ray pictures of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle and the main pumping chamber of the heart. Some people may notice a mild discomfort or “hot flash” following the dye injection which will last only a few seconds. During the catheterization, the physician can view the x-ray images on special TV screens. The entire procedure can take as little as 20 minutes or sometimes more than an hour, depending on how many and what type of measurements are taken. After the physician has completed the procedure, the sheaths are removed from the groin (or arm) and a nurse or cath lab technician will hold pressure on the site to allow the small hole in the artery to close. A special dressing, pressure device or sandbag may be placed on the site at this time. You will be asked to lie flat and still for several hours after the procedure to allow the hole in the artery to seal. Some physicians use a type of vascular closure device to seal the puncture in the artery. You should follow your physician’s specific instructions about activity following the use of one of these devices. Most patients will go home several hours after the procedure, but because you have been given medication to relax you, please plan to have someone drive you home. After your procedure, it is normal for the puncture site to be a bit tender and bruised, and a small knot may even develop. If you notice redness, drainage, severe pain or swelling, talk to your doctor to see if further evaluation is indicated.

In most cases, you will be asked to come to the hospital in the morning, and depending on the results, you may be able to leave later that afternoon. You will want to bring a change of clothes and toiletries in case you need to stay in the hospital. Prior to the procedure, you will be told not to eat or drink anything after a certain time. Your doctor will inform you which of your medications you should take prior to the procedure, and which medications to avoid before your catheterization. Please inform your doctor if you have had a previous allergic reaction to x-ray contrast dye or shellfish. He or she will prescribe medications to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. Please inform your doctor if you have a history of kidney disease.

If you take coumadin, hold your dose for 3 days prior.If you are a diabetic hold your Metformin the day prior to your procedure, the day of your procedure and one day after. Continue your Long-Acting Insulin. Hold your Short Acting Insulin if you have been instructed to not eat or drink anything the day of your test. Restart your Short Acting Insulin when your diet resumes.

Continue to take all cardiac medications as usual.

You may take your medications with a small sip of water.

If you need to reschedule the test or have any questions regarding these instructions. please call our office at (616) 717-5141.

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Stress Echocardiogram

The test takes approximately 1 hour.

A Stress Echocardiogram incorporates a treadmill test along with imaging of the heart utilizing ultrasound (sound waves). The test will help your doctor determine if there are areas of your heart which do not receive enough blood supply due to coronary artery disease. Areas of your heart which may have been damaged from a previous heart attack may also be seen. Ultrasound images will be obtained before and immediately after exercise on a treadmill. During the treadmill, you will be continuously monitored for blood pressure, heart rate, rhythm and ECG changes.Patient Instructions:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything four hours prior to the test.
  2. If you take a Beta Blocker hold your dose prior to your test, you may take the rest of your medications, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. For a complete list of Beta Blockers please call the office at number below.
  3. Wear two-piece clothing and comfortable shoes.
  4. No smoking 24 hours prior to the test.
  5. Your physician will be notified of the results.

If you need to reschedule the test or have any questions regarding these instructions. please call our office at (616) 717-5141.

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Treadmill Test (ETT)

The purpose of this test is to determine how your heart responds to stress and evaluate your cardiovascular status. You will be asked to exercise on a treadmill until you reach a “target” heart rate based on your age, or until you have reached your perceived exercise limit. You have control of the test intensity. Some patients prefer to use the study to assess their maximum exercise capacity for an exercise presumption.. During the treadmill, you will be continuously monitored for blood pressure, heart rate, rhythm and ECG changes. The exercise portion of the test usually lasts for 6 to 15 minutes. You should allow about an hour for the entire test, which includes preparation, the exercise portion, and the recovery period.Patient Instructions:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything two hours prior to the test.
  2. If you take a Beta Blocker hold your dose prior to your test, You may take the rest of your medications, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. For a complete list of medications you can call the office.
  3. Wear two-piece clothing and comfortable shoes.
  4. No smoking 24 hours prior to the test.
  5. Your physician will be notified of the results.

If you need to reschedule the test or have any questions regarding these instructions. please call our office at (616) 717-5141.

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