The diagnostic heart care we provide at Mercy Medical Center is mostly non-invasive, which means the procedures do not break the skin.
Cardiac Diagnostic Services
- Electrocardiogram—checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart.
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) diagnostics - used to diagnose whether or not there’s an opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart.
- Transthoracic Echocardiogram—a type of ultrasound to evaluate how your heart muscle and valves are working.
- Treadmill testing/other stress tests—monitors how your heart functions while exercising or under exertion.
- Nuclear medication scan—identifies damaged heart muscle, shows how blood flows to the heart, and how the heart pumps blood out to your body.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure that allows doctors to study the heart and surrounding blood vessels. One or more thin, flexible tubes are inserted through a blood vessel in the arm or leg to record blood flow, calculate cardiac output, and evaluate the heart’s electrical activity.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab Procedures
- Cardiac Nuclear Scans
- CT Heart Scan
- Heart MRI
- Stress Test
- Tilt Table
- 24-hour EKG recording
- Stress Echocardiogram
- Biopsies and draining fluid build-up around the heart
- Vascular procedures in the arteries and veins of the arms and legs (we use carbon dioxide instead of dye for peripheral vascular procedures, thus protecting the kidneys)
- Electrophysiology studies to detect and treat heart rhythm disorders and atrial fibrillation, plus implantation of pacemakers and AICDs (implantable defibrillators)
PCI and Angioplasty
Patients experiencing chest pain or a possible heart attack should have some form of angioplasty within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital for the best outcome. Having this service available in Merced means that patients can be treated faster, without needing to be transferred to another facility.
A cardiologist will perform your angioplasty in a cardiac catheterization lab (Cath lab) at Mercy Medical Center. You will be sedated but awake during the procedure.
During angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin or the wrist. With X-ray guidance, your doctor will move this thin tube up to the diseased coronary artery. He or she will inject a dye to better visualize the artery. Once the catheter reaches the blockage, a small balloon is inflated and pushes the plaque aside. This opens the coronary artery to increase blood flow to the heart muscle.
Risks of angioplasty include problems with the dye, blood vessel damage, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart attack, and possibly emergency heart surgery. These risks occur infrequently, but you should be aware of this possibility.