Called “echo” for short, echocardiography is the most common cardiac imaging test. It uses sound waves to show the structure of your heart so your doctor can diagnose a condition or plan valve surgery.
Most often, a technician will perform this test by passing an ultrasound device over the skin on your chest. But if your physician wants to see the back of your heart, you may receive a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). This procedure slides a thin tube with a tiny ultrasound device into your throat while you’re sedated or under anesthesia, so you won’t feel pain or remember it.
Accreditation Means High-Quality Care
AnMed Medical Center and AnMed Cardiology (Clemson) are accredited in adult echocardiography by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. We earned this accreditation to ensure we provide the best possible care for you. It means you can trust we have highly trained staff, excellent technology, and strict testing processes that lead to accurate results.
This test uses computed tomography (CT) imaging to check the amount of calcium in your heart arteries. Calcium buildup is a sign of coronary artery disease and may put you at higher risk of a heart attack. Ask your doctor about this test if you have a personal or family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
The cost is $99, not covered by insurance. Your calcium score could help you and your doctor make lifesaving decisions to protect your heart’s health.
This test uses a computed tomography (CT) scanner to check for narrowing of your heart arteries. Before the exam, you’ll receive an injection of a special dye that makes your blood vessels show up better on the images. Your doctor may order CT angiography if you have chest pain or other symptoms of slowed blood flow to your heart. The test is a noninvasive alternative to cardiac catheterization, which inserts a thin tube into your heart arteries to check for blockages.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets and a computer, not radiation, to show your heart. Your doctor may recommend this test to:
- See if you’re a candidate for angioplasty, a cardiac catheterization procedure that treats clogged heart arteries
- Assess problems affecting your heart muscle, such as:
- Amyloidosis (buildup of an unusual protein that can cause heart failure)
- Cardiac sarcoidosis (clusters of immune cells that form in the heart)
- Myocarditis (heart inflammation)
- Valve conditions
For a nuclear heart scan, you receive an injection of a slightly radioactive material called a tracer. It settles in your heart and shows up on a special gamma camera that provides very detailed information about your heart and blood vessels. Your cardiologist may use a nuclear exam to:
- Assess your risk of a serious heart condition
- Determine if your heart is healthy enough for surgery
- Examine blood flow before or after treatment of blocked arteries
Specific types of nuclear exams include:
- Multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan – Checks how well your heart pumps blood, especially if you’re receiving chemotherapy
- Nuclear stress test – Examines how your heart responds when it must work harder
- Pyrophosphate (PYP) scan – Looks for signs of amyloidosis, a buildup of an unusual protein that leads to heart failure
The injected tracer uses a very low dose of radiation that passes out of your body after the test. Nuclear scans are low-risk procedures that offer valuable information about how to best care for your heart.
AnMed Cardiovascular Diagnostics is accredited in nuclear stress testing by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. We chose to earn this accreditation to make sure we provide the best possible care for you. It means you can trust we have highly trained staff, excellent technology, and strict testing processes that lead to accurate results.
Getting Your Results
our test results will likely appear in your MyChart patient portal within 24 business hours. You may see them before your doctor has a chance to review and explain them. Rest assured, unusual findings don’t necessarily mean you have a serious heart problem. Your doctor’s office will call you or schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results and next steps.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have a question about how to prepare for your heart test, call the office where your appointment is scheduled.
Need a cardiologist? Ask your primary care provider for a referral or call AnMed WellnessConnect at 864-512-3748 for help finding a doctor.