- Santamonica Cardiologist, MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your course of treatment. The information provided in this website should be relied upon for medical education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the independent judgment of a health care provider. The appropriateness of a course of treatment for a patient may vary from the medical information provided herein due to individual conditions and/or complications.
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If you or your family has history of hypertension (elevated blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol), myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary artery disease with or without stent placement, open heart surgery (CABG, coronary artery bypass graft), arrhythmias (heart murmur, irregular heart beats), pacemaker or defibrillator implants, cerebrovascular accident (stroke), diabetes mellitus, or tobacco use, your internist or family physician may recommend a cardiovascular evaluation given your risk factors and refer you to a specialist who is trained to diagnose and treat heart problems. Our cardiology office is located in Encino and we are available to you and your physician.
The first thing usually done is to obtain your medical history and physical examination.
A cardiologist has the extensive training and equipment to find out if your heart problem calls for regular check-ups over a long time or for special tests, medical care or heart surgery. Your condition can be screened with the use of electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), echocardiogram (Doppler/echocardiography), or blood tests. Further non-invasive diagnostic tests may be necessary to rule out other conditions, such as coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, deep vein thrombosis, carotid artery stenosis. These include treadmill stress test, Holter monitoring, duplex scan of the carotid arteries, lower extremity venous or arterial ultrasound, renal artery duplex scan.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the heart's internal parts. A trained ultrasound technician, under the guidance of the cardiologist, will take different views of the heart. A Doppler test (echocardiogram) uses sound waves to measure blood flow. By combining these studies, the doctor learns about the heart's structure and work. These tests can all be performed in our Encino cardiology office.
After the examinations and tests, your cardiologist will explain your heart condition, and if further evaluation is warranted. He or she will also discuss with you the total program of care you will need. This includes check-ups, special medicines, and any limits on diet or exercise.
In some cases the initial tests won't provide enough information for a diagnosis, and special tests may be necessary to reveal exactly what the trouble is and where it's located. These tests are complex, so they should be done only in a well-equipped heart center or suitable hospital, with a trained cardiologist specializing in Electrophysiology, cardiac catheterization and/or angioplasty.
It's important for you to understand what a cardiac catheterization is and why it's needed.
In most cases, people are admitted to the hospital the day before or early on the day of the cardiac catheterization. Test such as an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, Doppler echocardiogram, blood and urine tests may be necessary if these tests have not yet been done prior to your admission.
For several hours before the catheterization, you won't be given anything to eat or drink. An intravenous line (IV) may be placed in one of the veins. The catheterization test usually causes little discomfort. You will be given a local anesthetic where the catheter (small plastic tube) will be inserted. Most patients sleep during the entire test.
In the procedure, a catheter is inserted into a vein or artery. While your cardiologist watches by special X-ray technique, the catheter is slowly moved until it reaches the heart. Your cardiologist can learn about the defect by taking blood samples and measuring blood pressures through the catheter.
During the catheterization, special fluid (dye or contrast material) that can be seen by X-ray may be injected through the catheter into a blood vessel or a chamber of the heart. After that, an X-ray motion picture is recorded. This procedure, called angiography, defines the heart coronary artery anatomy. Sometimes, your condition can be treated during cardiac catheterization. These treatments are different for each patient and will be discussed with you beforehand by the cardiologist.
After the catheterization, your cardiologist will discuss the results of the test with you. If no more time in the hospital is needed, you may be discharged later that night or the next day. Follow-up is provided in our Encino cardiology office in close proximity to Tarzana, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Burbank, West Hills and Northridge
After reviewing the examinations and tests, your cardiologist will advise you about treatment. If surgery is recommended, your cardiologist and heart surgeon will discuss with you the alternatives, risks, and benefits of the procedure, and answer your questions about the operation.
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