Non-invasive cardiology is a medical specialty that is concerned with the detection and treatment of heart diseases. This medical specialty involves tests to assess and diagnose heart disorders. Non-invasive cardiologists primarily run an office-based practice, which involves seeing heart patients to manage and prevent potential heart conditions. Non-invasive cardiologists do not perform any technical procedures, but only diagnostic tests to identify heart problems. In the case a patient has a problem that is treatable with medication or diet, then non-invasive cardiologists prescribe the necessary medication or lifestyle change. However, when a patient requires surgical procedures, then non-invasive cardiologists refer such a patient to another cardiologist for specialized treatment.
Non-invasive cardiology does not involve hospital admissions or surgery. This medical specialty only determines whether a patient has a problem and if extra testing and treatment may be required. Some of the main procedures conducted in non-invasive cardiology include:
Echocardiography: This is a computerized procedure that allows cardiologists to study the function of the heart and its valves. The process is painless and involves an ultrasound device that bounces sound waves over the heart. This procedure can detect cardiomyopathy, congenital defects, atherosclerosis, aneurysm, valve disease, pericarditis and congestive heart failure.
EKG: Electrodes are placed at a given point on the body, and the electrical activity is recorded. The heart’s electrical activity is measured using an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). Any deviation in EKG from the normal tracing indicates a specific heart condition.
Holter monitoring: The procedure involves a patient wearing a portable EKG device for recording the heart’s electrical activity for 1-3 days
Nuclear cardiology: involves the usage of nuclear medicine in studying heart problems
Radioisotope stress test: This test is carried out to investigate whether the heart is receiving sufficient blood
Other procedures include cardiac CT, exercise stress testing, cardiac event recording, SPECT (single-photon-emission computed tomography), imaging and non-imaging total stress tests, coronary artery revascularization procedures, coronary angiography and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty.
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