Electrician vs. Plumber The right specialists, the right tools, the right care. We’re not talking about your home. We’re talking about your heart. Your heart works every minute of every day to keep you alive. Understanding how your heart works can help you know what kind of heart care will be the most helpful to you. Owensboro Health has the specialists you need, and we want to help you understand what they do. What kind of cardiac tests are available? The first step to diagnosing and treating any heart problem is understanding the problem itself. That’s where advanced heart imaging and diagnostics come into play. Using various tests, imaging studies and other technologies, we can “see” inside your heart. What’s the difference in these technologies? Diagnostic tests » » Electrocardiogram: Better known as an EKG, this test measures your heart’s electrical activity. » » Stress test: This test measures how well blood flows through your heart’s blood vessels while you’re exercising. » » Holter monitor: This is a longer test, where you wear electrodes that are attached to a portable monitor for one to three days. » » Tilt-table test: This test measures your blood flow and blood pressure when you change positions. Imaging studies » » X-ray: Standard digital x-rays can be a good first test to help determine what to do next. » » CT scan: Computerized tomography (CT) uses x-rays and a sophisticated computer system to create detailed images of your heart. » » PET scan: Positron emission tomography (PET) uses special dyes to show how well your heart is functioning. » » Ultrasound: Painlessly creates an image of your heart using sound waves. This can be done while you’re at rest or exercising. » » Cardiac MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses extremely powerful magnets to create detailed images of the inside of the human body. MRIs do not use radiation but they take longer and can be more expensive than other imaging studies. Your cardiologist can help you choose the right test for your situation and diagnose potential conditions or problems based on test results and previous symptoms. Check the plumbing! What is an interventional cardiologist? All cardiologists are specialists in the function of your heart. Some cardiologists take that specialty a step further and treat heart issues using minimally invasive techniques. These advanced specialists are called interventional cardiologists. When would a cardiologist intervene? Your heart is basically a pump that constantly circulates blood throughout your body. When the various “pipes” in and around your heart are blocked, this can cause problems — some of which are dangerous or deadly. If one of the four heart valves is damaged or wears out, this can also keep blood from flowing properly. Common buzzwords in this area: » » Catheterization, or cath: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a cardiologist inserts a catheter into a vein (usually near your groin, but it can often Keep on ticking Does your heart need an electrician or a plumber? Dr. Leslie Oberst is a fellowship-trained cardiologist who specializes in cardiac CT and cardiac MRI diagnostics. Dr. Kebede Shire is board-certified in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, nuclear cardiology and echocardiography. As an interventional cardiologist, Dr. Shire treats a number of heart issues in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.