The goal of the Cardiovascular Laboratory at Maria Parham is to provide patients with accurate and timely tests of the heart, veins, and arteries to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. A variety of tests related to the cardiovascular system are offered. The lab is staffed by registered vascular (veins and arteries) and echocardiography (heart) technologists. All exams are reviewed by a Board Certified Cardiologist. The Cardiovascular Lab provides testing for both inpatients and outpatients. Staff work closely with referring physicians to ensure that patients get the most appropriate care to assist in managing cardiovascular disease.
We offer the following procedures:
A holter monitor records heart activity over a 24-hour period through the use of EKG lead wires placed on the patient’s chest. The patient wears the monitor for 24 hours while performing routine daily tasks. The following day the patient returns to the department to have the monitor removed. The recorded data is analyzed for any changes or disturbances in cardiac activity. Patients should wear a loose-fitting top to allow easy placement of the monitor and lead wires.
The patient wears a portable blood pressure monitor for 24 hours to determine if variations in blood pressure occur over a period of time. Normal daily activities should be carried out. The following day the patient must return to the department to have the monitor removed. The information is then analyzed to determine what changes in blood pressure have occurred over the 24-hour period. Patients should wear a short sleeve shirt or a thin long sleeve shirt over which the blood pressure cuff can be placed.
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Stress Testing (Exercise Treadmill Test)
Stress tests are performed to determine the effects of exercise on the heart. The patient is attached to an EKG monitor with various lead wires. EKG tracings of heart activity are obtained and blood pressure is checked. The patient is placed on a treadmill to walk until the target heart rate is reached. Heart activity is monitored during exercise. Once the target heart rate is reached, the patient is removed from the treadmill and EKG tracings and blood pressures are obtained for several minutes while the patient is recovering. In preparation for a stress test, patients should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the test. Certain medications may affect the results of the stress tests, so patients should consult their physicians as to which medications should or should not be taken the day of the test. Also, patients should wear a comfortable two-piece outfit and shoes which will allow them to easily walk on the treadmill.
Echocardiogram simply means ultrasound of the heart. The test is performed by placing ultrasound gel on the patient’s chest and scanning with an ultrasound camera. An echocardiogram looks at the different chambers of the heart, the valves, and the blood flow through the heart to detect any abnormalities which may be present. The procedure takes approximately 35-40 minutes and requires no preparation.
Venous Duplex or Venous Doppler Studies
Venous doppler is ultrasound of the veins. Generally, venous dopplers are performed to determine if a blood clot is present in the veins. These studies can be performed on numerous parts of the body because veins travel throughout the entire system. This type of test is performed by placing ultrasound gel on the area to be examined and scanning with an ultrasound camera. The technologist may also squeeze and apply pressure to the area being examined to determine the effects these maneuvers have on the flow of blood. These tests take approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on which part of the body is being examined. No specific preparation is needed for these tests.
Arterial Segmental Pressure Studies
An arterial segmental study is performed to check the circulation in the arms and/or legs. A small amount of ultrasound gel is placed on the area to be examined and a small ultrasound camera is used to listen to the blood flow. Then, several blood pressure cuffs are placed on the arms and legs to examine the pressures in different segments of the extremities. The pressures are then compared to determine if a blockage is present. The test takes about 60 minutes to complete, and there is no specific preparation for the test.
Carotid Doppler Studies
A carotid doppler is an ultrasound of the main arteries in the neck. The test is performed by placing gel on the patient’s neck and scanning with a small ultrasound camera to examine the blood flow through the arteries. This test determines if there is a blockage in the blood flow to the brain. This test takes about 30 minutes. Preferably, the patient should avoid caffeine the day of the test.
Maria Parham Cardiovascular Lab
To schedule an appointment please call: (252) 436-1302