Heart Disease Imaging Methods

Since disease onset is unpredictable, early diagnosis is important. Several noninvasive testing procedures are frequently used in heart disease diagnosis, including resting electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, exercise stress test (with or without radiolabel tracer), IVUS, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).2 All have their advantages and limitations. Unfortunately, no one test provides a complete, reliable assessment as to whether the observed atherosclerotic plaques are vulnerable to rupture. A more invasive procedure, coronary angiography, delivers imaging dyes through small tubes inserted in the artery. This technique has been especially helpful over the last two decades in identifying vessels with severe blockage. This procedure is often followed by either balloon angioplasty to widen the artery or by the placement of a small, expandable, hollow, wire mesh tube (stent) to widen the artery and restore blood flow. In the last few years, drug-eluting stents have risen in popularity; such stents markedly reduce the incidence of restenosis. More than a million of these revascularization procedures are now performed annually in the US alone.

Your Heart and Nutrition

Your Heart and Nutrition

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