Imaging Tests for Your Heart at Jupiter Medical Center
Jupiter Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Institute uses advanced
heart imaging technology and testing to accurately diagnose and treat
heart and vascular conditions.
We offer a full array of heart imaging tests – including echocardiography,
computed tomography angiography and MRIs – for our cardiac patients.
Your doctor will recommend which test is most appropriate for diagnosing,
and ultimately treating, heart disease.
What are heart imaging tests used for?
Cardiac imaging is used to help doctors visualize your heart. Imaging tests
create pictures of your heart that doctors can use to determine whether
blood is flowing properly through the heart, how well the valves and chambers
are functioning, and the heart's structure and size. Many heart imaging
tests are totally noninvasive, and the pictures are created using sound
waves that pass through the chest wall.
If those tests do not provide the information your doctor needs, there
are several minimally invasive, specialized cardiac imaging tests that
can be done using an imaging device inside the body.
Noninvasive Cardiac Diagnostic Tests
An echocardiogram uses ultrasound, or sound waves, to provide images of
the structure of the heart, including heart size, shape, and function
of your valves and heart muscle. The procedure is painless and takes about
20 to 30 minutes. Jupiter Medical Center’s Cardiology Services offers
testing in private rooms utilizing all digital echo equipment. During
the test, a small handheld device (a transducer) is placed against your
skin to create the images.
In addition to offering a standard, 2D echocardiogram, our expert cardiology
teams perform several types of specialized echocardiograms. Your doctor
will determine which is best for you.
Your doctor may want you to have a 3D echo, which enables a view of your
heart from multiple angles. Jupiter Medical Center offers 3D echocardiograms,
which can be especially helpful in looking at the structures of the heart,
and in diagnosing valvular heart disease, such as problems with the mitral valve.
Doppler echocardiograms are used to measure blood flow through the heart’s
valves and chambers. Doppler echocardiograms may be combined with a transesophageal
echocardiogram (TEE) to evaluate abnormal blood flow in the heart, such
as problems with one of more heart valves or blood clots.
Color Doppler is an enhanced form of a Doppler echocardiogram, in which
color is used to show the direction of blood flow.
A stress echocardiogram is a diagnostic procedure that combines a stress
test with an echocardiogram. Stress echocardiograms are used to assess
the heart’s structure and function when the heart is made to work
hard, such as during physical exertion. To stress the heart, you may be
asked to walk on a treadmill. Or, if you have a medical or orthopedic
condition that makes getting your heart rate up on a treadmill not possible,
your doctor may use dobutamine, a medicine that stimulates the heart and
mimics the effects of exercise.
Heart Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A heart MRI uses very strong magnets and radio waves to create detailed
images of your heart, sometimes with the use of contrast dye. The test
shows your doctor the structure of your heart and how well it is working.
Cardiac MRIs may be combined with a
stress test with medication to see how well the heart performs at rest and when working hard.
Coronary Computed Tomography Angiogram (CCTA)
Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a heart imaging test
that uses an injection of contrast dye and computed tomography imaging
to examine the structure and blood vessels of the heart (the coronary
arteries). Computed tomography is often referred to as a CT scan or a
CAT scan, which is also used in other areas of the body. CCTA scans create
3D images of the heart.
CCTA is often used on patients who are experiencing symptoms of coronary
artery disease, such as chest pain, or who have had a stress test result
that indicates further testing is advised. CCTA is also used in patients
who have undergone coronary bypass surgery or who have heart failure,
to determine how much plaque they have in their arteries. Plaque is a
build up of fat, cholesterol and calcium inside the arteries that can
interfere with blood flow, potentially causing chest pain or a heart attack.
Minimally Invasive Cardiac Imaging Tests
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
During a transesophageal echo (TEE), an ultrasound probe is guided down
your mouth into your esophagus, while you’re sedated. TEE may be
used when the results from standard echo studies were not clear enough
or when your doctor wants a closer look at a specific part of your heart.
TEE is useful because the esophagus and the heart are close together,
whereas with a standard echo the sound waves have to pass through the
skin, muscle and bone of the chest wall. TEE may be used in patients with
certain conditions such as lung disease or obesity that can make standard
echo imaging insufficient, or if your doctor wants to see a specific part
of the heart more clearly.
Intracardiac echocardiograms are catheter-based heart imaging tests performed
in Jupiter Medical Center’s
electrophysiology lab. While a standard echocardiogram uses sound waves that pass through the
chest wall to produce an image of the heart, an intracardiac echo uses
a catheter to deliver a small transducer (sensor) inside the heart. This
gives physicians a real-time view of the heart anatomy and structure.
Intracardiac echocardiography may be
performed while the patient is sedated, but conscious. The procedure may also be
angioplasty, catheter ablation to correct heart arrhythmias, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR),
or other heart surgeries.
Contact the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center
To schedule an appointment or learn more about cardiac diagnostic services
at Jupiter Medical Center, call (561) 263-3078.