A cardiology outpatient clinic is available at UPMC Institute for Health, where specialty consults and diagnostic tests can be conducted.
A cardiology consult is performed to determine any signs and symptoms of cardiology and/or cardiovascular alterations. It includes a comprehensive medical history, which is essential to assess any clinical risk factors and the overall cardiocirculatory function, and parameters such as arterial pressure, heart rate, and anthropometric data. In addition, the presence of potential edemas and the heart is monitored for murmurs suggestive of valve dysfunctions and/or rhythm alterations suggestive of arrhythmias. The chest auscultation is used to detect any signs of cardiovascular overload or respiratory issues that may affect the activity of the heart.
This is an outpatient diagnostic test that allows to record and visualize the electrical activity of the heart. By monitoring the electrical signals that precede and follow the contraction and relaxation of the heart, we can detect a heart disease or a rhythm disorder (arrhythmia).
This test uses ultrasounds to visualize the anatomy of the heart and its function, and to provide important information on its contractility, on the morphology of the heart valves, and on the blood flow inside the cavities. This is a painless and non-invasive test. It allows to view cardiac abnormalities even at a particularly early stage, integrating the information obtained from the assessment and the EKG and to formulate an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
This is a diagnostic test of the arteries that carry blood to the brain, i.e., the carotids and the vertebral arteries. This test provides information on the (internal) lumen and the arteries to determine if the wall structure is thickened or not. It allows to identify steno-occlusions in these vessels, the percentage of vessel narrowing and any blood flow alterations. Also, it quantifies the risk of an ischemic cerebrovascular disease. For all these reasons, it’s an excellent method to assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases in symptomatic but also asymptomatic individuals.
A stress test is an electrocardiogram (EKG) conducted under physical exertion. During the test, the electrocardiogram and blood pressure are measured while the patient is pedaling a stationary bicycle, with increasing workloads. This test is mostly used to assess potential heart problems under exertion and, therefore, to diagnose a diseases of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart) or an abnormal blood pressure response to exertion.
The Holter monitor records the electrical activity of the heart continuously over 24 hours in a painless and non-invasive manner. This is a valuable tool to study cardiac arrhythmias, rhythm alterations, and arrhythmic risk, and to assess the effectiveness of an antiarrhythmic therapy. Electrodes are applied on the patient’s chest and connected to a data recording device positioned on the patient’s belt. The next day, the 24-hour EKG data is stored and downloaded to a computer. The cardiologist can read and interpret the results of the test.
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