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Six Cardio Tests Provide Health Snapshot: August 5, 2014

With cardiovascular disease being the nation’s top killer, who wouldn’t want to know what’s going on inside them? Now getting a beat on your heart health is easier than ever before.

“The nice thing about these tests is that they’re non-invasive. There’s going to be no discomfort with them, they can be done in one setting, they’re quick and easy and they can give us a great insight into the heart,” says Dr. Lynne Einbinder, who is an interventional cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

The heart lays at the center or ‘heart’ of our vascular system. Once blood leaves the heart it circulates throughout the body. And problems can pop up anywhere down the line. A group of six cardio tests, bundled together can provide a real-time health snapshot.

It begins with an echocardiogram:

“That’s an ultrasound of the heart. We’re able to look at the size and function of the heart. We’re able to look for any evidence of previous heart attack, heart damage, or any significant leakage of the heart valve,” says Dr. Einbinder.

Next is an ultrasound of the aorta, which looks for aneurysms; followed by a carotid ultrasound.

“We ultrasound the two arteries inside the neck and we look for evidences of blockages. Severe blockages can actually increase your risk of stroke,” says Dr. Einbinder.

The ankle-brachial test is a telling test most people have never heard of.

“We look at the blood flow down the legs. And it’s a very easy test to do. We just put some blood pressure cuffs down the legs in the same way that we put blood pressure cuffs on the arms,” says Dr. Einbinder.

And don’t underestimate the EKG-which packs a powerful punch.

“Even though it’s a simple test, it can give us a lot of information. It can look for heart arrhythmias, it can look for irregular heartbeats, it can also give us information about whether there’s been old heart attacks,” says Dr. Einbinder.

The final screening is a blood pressure test. Taken with the others it provides a fuller picture of your health status.

“The reason why we pick these tests is because these are very serious conditions that it can pick up,” says Dr. Einbinder.