Cardiovascular Diagnostics | Diagnostic Technology and Heart Attacks

Cardiovascular Diagnostics

Heart Attacks and Cardiovascular Diagnostics

The cardiovascular system, made up of the heart and blood vessels, pumps blood throughout the body. Health issues within this vital system can be extremely dangerous and deadly. That’s why cardiovascular diagnostics is such an important field. With a variety of advanced tests, medical professionals can detect and identify abnormalities in the cardiovascular system.

Basic Cardiac Diagnostic Tools

Patients showing signs of heart problems are often first tested with an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG). In EKG, twelve leads are affixed to the patient’s chest to measure electrical activity.

Because the patient is only hooked up to the EKG for a short time, sometimes the test results don’t show any abnormalities. In cases like this, doctors may recommend the patients wear a Holter Monitor for a day or so. A Holter monitor is basically a portable EKG that is worn on the chest, recording all heartbeats.

Diagnostic Technology and Heart Attacks

According to the American Heart Association, each year 790,000 people in the US have heart attacks. Of those, about 114,000 die. Heart attacks occur when blood clots block the flow of blood into the heart from a coronary artery. Within a short time, the heart muscle, lacking oxygen, begins to die, causing permanent damage and possibly death.

Electrocardiography (EKG/ECG) is used to diagnose heart attacks. The test can determine how much damage has occurred and where, as well as measuring heart rate and rhythm.

Echocardiography (Cardiac Sonography/Ultrasound) can also be used during or after a heart attack to discern if any areas of the heart have been injured or are pumping abnormally. Cardiac ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create a detailed image of the heart.

In Midwestern Career College’s echo lab, students get hands-on experience scanning real people. Watch Cielo, a MCC student demonstrate in the following video:

In follow-up doctor’s visits after having a heart attack, patients may be tested with a Stress EKG, which can help identify any remaining blockages in the coronary arteries. A stress EKG is just like a normal EKG, except the patient is exercising (and we all know how stressful that can be).

Midwestern Career College’s Associate of Applied Science in Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Sonography program trains students in Echocardiography, EKG/ECG, stress testing, and Holter Monitoring, in preparation for engaging careers in the quickly growing cardiovascular diagnostics field. Interested in learning more about cardiovascular diagnostics? Call (312) 236-9000 or email and schedule a campus visit today!

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