For promoting good heart Health and providing most effective and advanced diagnostics and treatments available to cardiology patients today.
What We Offer:
From promoting good heart Health to providing most effective diagnostics and treatments available to cardiology patients today. northwest Houston Heart Center is ready to guide you through complexities of any cardiovascular condition.
Our dynamic team incorporates the talents of the finest award winning cardiologists with academic medical center experience and highly trained staff equipped with latest diagnostic equipment to provide you with the most innovative Cardiac Care in area.
Northwest Houston Heart Center is one of only three centers in Houston area equipped with state of the art dedicated Cardiac PET scanner for early and precise diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
The Gold Standard:
Cardiac PET Scan is emerging as the gold standard and most reliable non invasive cardiac test in diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease. Clinic studies have shown that Cardiac PET Scan is more accurate than other tests such as electrocardiogram (ECG) stress testing, single photo emission computer tomography (SPECT or traditional nuclear stress testing) in diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease. Early detection of Coronary Heart Disease is vital as the early treatment of CHD can prevent Heart attacks. Addition of Cardiac PET Scanner gives our physicians ability to provide our patients the highest standard of care in the non invasive diagnosis of CHD. Northwest Houston Heart Center cardiac PET laboratory is certified by the high standards of Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear medicine Laboratories (ICANL) and our echocardiography laboratory is certified by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL).
Why Choose Us:
Our physicians are performing complex coronary, lower extremity and carotid interventions percutaneously or endovascularly using balloons, stents and advanced laser therapies. Where indicated, these minimally invasive procedures can obviate the need for more extensive surgical procedures and minimize the patient stay in the hospital and lead to rapid recovery compare to open surgical procedures. Our physicians are also very well trained in the placement and follow up care of cardiac pacemakers. We place a great emphasis on early identification of cardiovascular risk factors and preventive cardiovascular care and educating our patients in heart healthy living, we believe best outcomes can only be achieved when patients are well informed about their medical conditions and doctors and patients work as a team, we take a great pride in the wonderful team we have built at Northwest Houston Heart Center.
We wish you Happy Holidays!
Our office will be closed November 23rd to November 26th.
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What is a pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion?
A pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defribillator (ICD) insertion is a procedure in which a pacemaker and/or an ICD is inserted to assist in regulating problems with the heart rate (pacemaker) or heart rhythm (ICD).
dualchamberWhen a problem develops with the heartâ€™s rhythm, such as a slow rhythm, a pacemaker may be selected for treatment. A pacemaker is a small electronic device composed of three parts: a generator, one or more leads, and an electrode on each lead. A pacemaker signals the heart to beat when the heartbeat is too slow.
A generator is the “brain” of the pacemaker device. It is a small metal case that contains electronic circuitry and a battery. The lead (or leads) is an insulated wire that is connected to the generator on one end, with the other end placed inside one of the heart’s chambers. The electrode on the end of the lead touches the heart wall. In most pacemakers, the lead senses the heart’s electrical activity. This information is relayed to the generator by the lead.
If the heart’s rate is slower than the programmed limit, an electrical impulse is sent through the lead to the electrode and the pacemaker’s electrical impulse causes the heart to beat at a faster rate.
When the heart is beating at a rate faster than the programmed limit, the pacemaker will monitor the heart rate, but will not pace. No electrical impulses will be sent to the heart unless the heart’s natural rate falls below the pacemaker’s low limit.
Pacemaker leads may be positioned in the atrium or ventricle or both, depending on the condition requiring the pacemaker to be inserted. An atrial dysrhythmia/arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a dysfunction of the sinus node or the development of another atrial pacemaker within the heart tissue that takes over the function of the sinus node) may be treated with an atrial pacemaker.
A ventricular dysrhythmia/arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a dysfunction of the sinus node, an interruption in the condution pathways, or the development of another pacemaker within the heart tissue that takes over the function of the sinus node) may be treated with a ventricular pacemaker whose lead wire is located in the ventricle.
It is possible to have both atrial and ventricular dysrhythmias, and there are pacemakers that have lead wires positioned in both the atrium and the ventricle. There may be one lead wire for each chamber, or one lead wire may be capable of sensing and pacing both chambers.
A new type of pacemaker, called a biventricular pacemaker, is currently used in the treatment of convestive heart failure. Sometimes in heart failure, the two ventricles (lower heart chambers) do not pump together in a normal manner.
When this happens, less blood is pumped by the heart. A bioventricular pacemaker paces both ventricles at the same time, increasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This type of treatment is called cardiac resynchronization therapy.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD):
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) looks very similar to a pacemaker, except that it is slightly larger. It has a generator, one or more leads, and an electrode for each lead. These components work very much like a pacemaker. However, the ICD is designed to deliver an electrical shock to the heart when the heart rate becomes dangerously fast, or â€œfibrillates.â€�
An ICD senses when the heart is beating too fast and delivers an electrical shock to convert the fast rhythm to a normal rhythm. Some devices combine a pacemaker and ICD in one unit for persons who need both functions.
The ICD has another type of treatment for certain fast rhythms called anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP). When ATP is used, a fast pacing impulse is sent to correct the rhythm. After the shock is delivered, a â€œback-upâ€� pacing mode is used if needed for a short while.
The procedure for inserting a pacemaker or an ICD is quite similar. The procedure generally is performed in an electrophysiology (EP) lab or a cardiac catheterization lab.
What are Vascular Studies?
Vascular studies are a noninvasive and painless (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the blood flow in arteries and veins. A transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the skin at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the blood vessels, where the waves echo off of the blood cells. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to an amplifier, which makes the ultrasonic sound waves audible.
Vascular studies can utilize one of these special types of ultrasound technology, as listed below:
– This Doppler technique is used to measure and assess the flow of blood through the blood vessels. The amount of blood pumped with each beat is an indication of the size of a vessel’s opening. Also, Doppler can detect abnormal blood flow within a vessel, which can indicate a blockage caused by a blood clot, a plaque, or inflammation.
– Color Doppler is an enhanced form of Doppler ultrasound technology. With color Doppler, different colors are used to designate the direction of blood flow. This simplifies the interpretation of the Doppler technique.
Ankle Brachial Index and PVR
To assess blood flow in the limbs, pulse volume recordings (PVRs) may be performed. Blood pressure cuffs are inflated on the limb and blood pressure in the limb is measured using the Doppler transducer.
To assess the carotid arteries in the neck, a carotid duplex scan may be performed. This type of Doppler examination provides 2-dimensional (2D) image of the arteries so that the structure of the arteries and location of an occlusion can be determined, as well as the degree of blood flow.
A carotid artery duplex scan is a type of vascular ultrasound study done to assess occlusion (blockage) or stenosis (narrowing) of the carotid arteries of the neck and/or the branches of the carotid artery. Plaque (a buildup of fatty materials), a thrombus (blood clot), and other substances in the blood stream may cause a disturbance in the blood flow through the carotid arteries.
carotid-stenting The arteries bring oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body. The veins take away the blood after the cells have taken in the oxygen and nutrients and given up their waste products, such as carbon dioxide. If blood flow is decreased to any part of the body, that area does not get enough oxygen and nutrients and is unable to get rid of its waste products adequately.
Decreased blood flow can occur in the arteries and veins anywhere in the body, such as the neck and brain. When the neck arteries (carotid arteries) become occluded, symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, headache, and/or a brief loss of ability to speak or move, may be the early warning signs of a possible strong (brain attack).
More severe symptoms, such as sudden sharp headache, loss of vision in one eye, sudden loss of ability to move arms, legs, or one side of the body, sudden forceful vomiting, or sudden decreased level of consciousness may mean that a stroke is imminent.
Some conditions which may affect blood flow include, but are not limited to, the following:
Atherosclerosis – a gradual clogging of the arteries over many years by fatty materials and other substances in the blood stream.
Aneurysm – a dilation of a part of the heart muscle or the aorta (the large artery that carries oxygenated blood out of the heart to the rest of the body), which may cause weakness of the tissue at the site of the aneurysm.
Embolus or thrombus – clots in blood vessels may be either an embolus (a small mass of material such as fat globules, air, clusters of bacteria, or even foreign matter such as a piece of metal from a bullet) or a thrombus (a blood clot).
Inflammatory conditions – an inflammation within a blood vessel may occur as a result of trauma (physical trauma, such as from a fall, or chemical trauma, such as from an irritating medication being introduced into the vessel), infection, or an autoimmune disorder (e.g., polyarteritis, Raynaud’s disease, and aortic arch syndrome).
Varicose veins – occur when the veins of the circulatory system in the legs are exposed over time to pressure that causes stress on the walls and valves of the veins
Any of these conditions may cause decreased blood flow in arteries and/or veins. Some symptoms that may occur when blood flow decreases to the legs include, but are not limited to, the following:
Leg pain and/or weakness during exertion (known as claudication)
Soreness, tenderness, redness, and/or warmth in the leg(s)
Pale and cool skin; may even be grayish or blue
Numbness or tingling
If the physician suspects that a person may have decreased blood flow somewhere in the peripheral (arms, legs, and/or neck) circulation, vascular studies may be performed.
Reasons for the Procedure
Reasons for which vascular studies may be performed include, but are not limited to, the following:
Evaluation of signs and symptoms which may suggest decreased blood flow in the arteries and/or veins of the neck, legs, or arms
Evaluation of previous procedures that were performed to restore blood flow to an area
Evaluation of a vascular dialysis device, such as an A-V fistula in the arm
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a vascular study.
What is a stress myocardial perfusion scan (Nuclear Stress Test)?
A myocardial perfusion scan is a type of nuclear medicine procedure. This means that a tiny amount of a medically safe radioactive substance, called a radionuclide (radiopharmaceutical or radioactive tracer), is used during the procedure to assist in the examination of the tissue under study. Specifically, the myocardial perfusion scan evaluates the heartâ€™s function and blood flow.
A radionuclide is a radioactive substance used as a “tracer,” which means it travels through the blood stream and is taken up (absorbed) by the healthy heart muscle tissue. On the scan, the areas where the radionuclide has been absorbed will show up differently than the areas that do not absorb it (due to decreased blood flow to the area or possible damage to the tissue from decreased or blocked blood flow).
A stress myocardial perfusion scan is used to assess the blood flow to the heart muscle (myocardium) when it is stressed by exercise or medication and to determine what areas of the myocardium have decreased blood flow. This is done by injecting a radionuclide (thallium or technetium) into a vein in the arm or hand.
There are different types of radionuclides. When one type of radionuclide is used, areas of the myocardium that have blocked or partially blocked arteries will be seen on the scan as “cold spots,” or “defects,” because these areas will be unable to take in the radionuclide into the myocardium. Another type of radionuclide binds to the calcium that is released when a heart attack occurs, so it will accumulate in area(s) of injured heart tissue as a â€œhot spotâ€� on the scan.
There are two types of stress myocardial perfusion scans, one that is used in conjunction with exercise (myocardial perfusion scan with exercise) and one that is used in conjunction with medication (pharmacologic myocardial perfusion scan).
I) Myocardial perfusion scan with exercise:
A myocardial perfusion scan with exercise is used to determine what areas of the heart muscle (myocardium) have decreased blood flow during exercise. This is done by injecting a radionuclide (thallium or technetium) into a vein in the arm or hand during exercise. After the radionuclide has been injected into a vein and has circulated through the blood stream, a special machine called a gamma camera takes pictures of the heart while the person lies still on a table. This scanning usually lasts about 15 minutes.
Any areas of the myocardium that have blocked or partially blocked arteries during exercise will be seen on the scan as “cold spots,” or “defects,” because these areas will be unable to absorb the radionuclide into the myocardium.
A second set of scans is taken at rest. The resting phase is done in order to compare the results with the exercise phase to see if areas that do not get adequate blood flow while exercising are able to absorb the radionuclide during rest.
II) Myocardial perfusion scan with pharmacologic intervention:
A pharmacologic myocardial perfusion scan is used when the physician has determined that exercise on a treadmill is not an appropriate choice due to the personâ€™s medical condition. In this situation, a medication is given that causes the coronary arteries to dilate. This dilation of the coronary arteries causes an increase in blood flow and is very similar to the response of the arteries during exercise. The medication is injected into a vein in the arm or hand.
After a given period of time, the gamma camera will take pictures of the heart while the person lies still on a table. A resting scan will be performed afterwards, just as with the actual exercise scan. By comparing these two pictures, your doctor can tell if you have blockages in the arteries going to your heart.
What is an echocardiogram?
An echocardiogram is a noninvasive and painless (the skins is not pierced) procedure used to assess the heart’s function and structures. During the procedure, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at a certain location and angle, the untrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissue to the heart tissues, where the waves echo off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer interprets the echoes into an image of the heart walls and valves.
What is an event monitor?
Event monitoring is very similar to Holter monitoring, and is often ordered for the same reasons. With an event monitor, you wear ECG electrode patches on your chest, and the electrodes are connected by wire leads to a recording device. Unlike the Holter monitor, however, which records continuously throughout the testing period of 24 to 48 hours, the event monitor does not record until you feel symptoms and trigger the monitor to record your ECG tracing at that time.
When you feel one or more symptoms, such as chest pain, dizziness, or palpitations, you push a button on the event monitor recorder. Some monitors have a feature (memory loop recorder) which captures a short period of time prior to the moment you triggered the recording and afterwards. This feature can help your physician determine more details about the possible change in your ECG at the time the symptoms started, and what was happening with your ECG just before you triggered the recorder. Other monitors, called “post-event recorders,” simply start recording your ECG from the moment you trigger it.
Event recorders are quite small about the size of a pager or cell phone.
After you experience symptoms and record them, you will send the recording of the event to your physician or to a central monitoring center. This transmission is done over the telephone. You will be instructed regarding how to do this on the recorder. You will also keep a diary of your symptoms and corresponding activities (as done during the Holter monitoring procedure).
What is a Holter monitor?
The Holter monitor is a type of electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) used to monitor the ECG tracing continuously for a period of 24 hours or longer. When symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, prolonged fatigue, and palpitations continue to occur without a definitive diagnosis obtained with a resting ECG, an exercise ECG, your physician may request an ECG tracing to be run over a long period of time, using the Holter monitor.
Certain dysrhythmias/arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), which can cause the symptoms noted above, may occur only intermittently, or may occur only under certain conditions, such as stress. Dysrhythmias of this type are difficult to obtain on an ECG tracing that only runs for a few minutes. Thus, the physician will request a Holter monitor to allow a better opportunity to capture any abnormal beats or rhythms that may be causing the symptoms. The Holter monitor records continuously for the entire period of 24 to 48 hours. Some Holter monitors may record continuously but also have an event monitor feature that you activate when symptoms begin to occur.
You will receive instructions regarding how long you will need to wear the recorder (usually 24 to 48 hours), how to keep a diary of your activities and symptoms during the test, and personal care/activity instructions.
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