Kenmore Mercy Hospital Adds New Cardiology Service

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November 18, 2013

Mila Aponchuck, cardiac stress technician, and Debbie Dittley, cardiac sonographer, demonstrate an echocardiogram portion of the test, which is done before and after exercise. 

Kenmore Mercy Hospital recently added stress echocardiogram to its list of services available to patients seeking cardiology diagnostic testing.    

A stress echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure that combines two tests: a treadmill stress test (TST) and an echocardiogram (ECHO) to see how the heart muscle contracts during rest and during exercise.

According to Harry E. McCrea, III, MD, chief of the Cardiology Department, “A stress echo looks at how the heart functions, mainly your left ventricle (main pumping chamber) when it is made to work harder.”

The stress echo is identical to a stress exercise test, except, an echocardiogram is performed before and after you exercise.

“A stress echo is especially useful in diagnosing coronary heart disease and the presence of blockages in the coronary arteries,” he added.   

The procedure, which takes about an hour, uses a transducer to send out ultrasound waves at a frequency too high to be heard.

When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce or “echo” off of the heart structures.

The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer, which displays the echoes as images of the heart walls and valves.

A stress echocardiogram can be scheduled by calling 447-6179.