Cardiac imaging and tests in Virginia
An accurate diagnosis is the first step in heart and vascular care. At HCA Virginia's hospitals, we emphasize the importance of early detection, using a wide range of diagnostic heart procedures and tools. This allows our cardiac specialists to quickly and accurately pinpoint a heart problem, so your care can start as soon as possible.
For more information about our cardiac screening and imaging services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.
Our heart imaging services
Our advanced screening and imaging enables us to provide preventive, interventional, diagnostic and emergency heart care. For example, these procedures help our cardiologists identify heart disease early. Then we can provide treatment before a heart event, such as a heart attack, or before a condition, such as heart failure, advances.
In addition to lab and blood work, some of our diagnostic heart screening and imaging services include:
Cardiac catheterization involves using X-rays and a catheter (small tube) to view the inside of an artery or blood vessel. It may be performed as a diagnostic or interventional tool in our cardiac catheterization labs (cath labs), allowing our skilled specialists can diagnose and immediately treat heart conditions.
An angiogram is a common type of cardiac catheterization procedure used to identify blockages or areas of narrowing in your heart's blood vessels. During an angiogram procedure, a catheter in the blood vessel releases a dye that is visible by the X-ray machine. By observing the flow of dye, our cardiologists can detect any areas of restriction in the blood flow to the heart.
If necessary, an angioplasty (a minimally invasive procedure) can be performed during your coronary angiogram to unblock any blocked heart arteries.
Coronary calcium scans
A coronary calcium scan, also known as a "heart scan," is a specialized X-ray. It captures photos of your heart to detect and measure calcium-containing plaque in the arteries.
We offer this type of advanced scan because it allows us to identify potential coronary artery disease before you may experience symptoms. If a significant level of calcified plaque is discovered, then our heart team may prescribe certain medications or recommend lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of life-threatening cardiac problems.
Electrophysiology (EP) studies
Electrophysiology involves testing the electrical system and activity within your heart. For example, if you have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia, your cardiologist may use an EP study to see where it is occurring in your heart.
Our hospitals include staff who are specially trained — electrophysiology nurses and anesthesiologists as well as electrophysiologists — to perform EP studies. They will work together to determine what treatment plan is best for you.
Also known as an exercise stress test, a stress test shows how your heart performs during physical activity. Since your heart pumps harder and faster when you exercise, a stress test is able to detect any problems with blood flow within your heart.
Patients are usually asked to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while our cardiologists monitor their heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing. If you already have signs of heart disease or a heart arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm), a stress test may be recommended so we can determine the severity of your heart condition and form the best treatment plan for you.
Vascular testing and lab
Vascular testing involves a comprehensive range of noninvasive procedures to determine blood flow and circulation or blockages in vessels outside the heart.
We offer several fully equipped peripheral vascular labs, which feature advanced imaging technology for veins and arteries. This technology provides doctors with a clear view of the vascular field, resulting in reliable detection and treatment all while exposing the patient to only minimal radiation.
Other services at our heart imaging centers
Some of the other cardiac diagnostics we provide include:
- 4D and color ultrasound, often used for fetal heart testing in prenatal care
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT) angiogram
- Transthoracic echocardiogram
- Transesophageal echocardiogram
- Doppler echocardiogram
- Stress echocardiogram
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Exercise tolerance testing
- Holter monitoring
- Nuclear (molecular) medicine