cardiology

What is Heart Disease?

Heart Disease, also known as Cardiovascular Disease, refers to conditions that involve blocked or narrowed blood vessels that may lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke, as well as infections and conditions that affect the heart muscle, valves, or beating rhythm.
The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems commonly known as an irregular heart beat); heart infections; and congenital heart defects (those defects one is born with).
With healthy lifestyle choices, certain types of heart disease can be prevented, treated and improved.

Diagnosis

Dr. Soffer is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. The Soffer Heart Institute employs the most advanced technologies and research available to diagnose heart disease, rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and determine the most appropriate treatment. In addition to a physical examination, discussion of heart disease risk factors, and review of your family medical history, your diagnostic testing may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Stress Test
    A stress tests consists of exercising on a treadmill in our office,
    or taking a drug to simulate heart activity during exercise, while an electrocardiogram monitors your heart. You also may be monitored by using an echocardiogram, nuclear scan or PET scan during your stress test.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
    In this noninvasive test, electrodes (sensor patches with wires attached) are placed on your skin to measure your heart’s electrical impulses. An ECG can indicate the existence of a heart attack, lack of blood supply to your heart or other heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Blood Tests
    A blood test will reveal certain heart enzymes that leak into the blood if coronary artery disease has damaged your heart, and is also used to check your cholesterol level and other risk factors for coronary artery disease.
  • X-Ray
    A chest X-ray shows the size and shape of your heart and can identify damage, such as heart failure caused by coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
  • Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram)
    The echocardiogram shows heart valve function and some blood flow problems by utilizing a hand-held device (transducer) on your chest, which bounces sound waves off your heart to show detailed images of your heart’s size, structure and function.
  • Nuclear scan
    Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). During this test, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into your bloodstream and special cameras are used to identify the flow of blood (or lack thereof) to your heart.
    The echocardiogram shows heart valve function and some blood flow problems by utilizing a hand-held device (transducer) on your chest, which bounces sound waves off your heart to show detailed images of your heart’s size, structure and function.
  • Stress Reduction
    We realize the magnitude of the heart/mind connection and help you use stress reduction techniques to augment traditional cardiovascular treatment. More and more studies have concluded that stress is one of the most significant factors in getting and, ultimately, worsening heart disease. By reducing stress, our staff psychotherapist specializes in reducing one of the biggest risk factors in heart disease and its progression in our society and makes the Soffer Heart Institute one of the only practices in the country to have a true “cardiac psychology” treatment philosophy.
  • Positron emission tomographic scan (PET)
    By revealing areas of your heart with altered blood supply, a PET scan can help to identify areas of your heart that have been damaged previously.
  • Angiogram (coronary catheterization)
    This is the most precise test to determine the location and severity of coronary artery disease. A long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into the artery in your leg or wrist and guides the catheter to your heart using X-ray imaging. By injecting a special dye into the catheter, the blockages in your heart arteries become visible under X-ray. Often, blockages can be treated immediately using catheter-assisted procedures such as angioplasty or stent placement.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    Highly detailed images of your heart are gathered using magnetic energy, and will reveal damaged tissue from previous heart attacks.
  • CT Scan
    Using a CT scanner, your larger coronary arteries can be viewed.