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Diagnosing heart and vascular diseases is the first step in your journey to a healthier you. The heart and vascular specialists on the medical staff at The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton use advanced ultrasound technology to help diagnose problems that affect your heart and blood vessels.

The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton features the innovative Philips EPIQ Ultrasound, making The Heart Hospital one of the few hospitals in the country to offer this technology. The EPIQ ultrasound has the advanced software with extremely high resolution imaging that can quantitatively and objectively see how your heart is beating. The new technology is capable of looking at entire areas of the heart, and within one heartbeat can get a complete three dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the heart valves; in three to four beats, it can create a complete reconstruction of the heart.

Ultrasound uses sound waves higher than human hearing can detect. A device called a transducer, a kind of modified microphone that turns electrical energy into sound waves, connects to a computer and control panel. Ultrasound waves are directed through the skin and into the body with the transducer. When the sound waves hit body structures, they bounce off of the structures and then travel back toward the transducer. A computer analyzes the echoes, the time it takes them to travel, and their distance from the transducer and produces a real-time moving image of the shape and structure of blood vessels.

Doppler ultrasound measures how sound waves echo off moving objects. Doppler ultrasound uses short-bursts of ultrasonic waves to produce images of the direction and speed of the flow of blood. During a Doppler exam, the transducer measures the sound waves that bounce off red blood cells as they move through blood vessels. As the blood cells move, the "pitch" of the echoes they send back changes, and this change in pitch enables physicians to measure the direction and speed of blood flow. Doppler ultrasound allows physicians to determine whether blood flow has been affected by narrowed blood vessels, blood clots, or other obstructions.

Cardiac ultrasound produces images of the heart that can help physicians detect heart function and problems with heart valves. Vascular ultrasound creates images of blood circulation in the legs, arms, head, and neck. Physicians can detect disorders that affect the vascular (or circulatory) system such as blockages in an artery or a blood clot in a vein.

Innovative technologies allow your cardiac or vascular specialist to view how your heart and blood vessels work in real time with three dimensional (3D) imaging. In cardiovascular medicine, duplex ultrasound combines regular ultrasound with Doppler technology, which allows doctors to view veins and arteries as well as assess speed and blood flow. Duplex ultrasound is safe; no radiation or contrast dyes are necessary.

Types of ultrasound that your physician might use to diagnose heart and vascular disease include:

  • Arterial Doppler
  • Cardiac ultrasound, also known as echocardiogram
  • Carotid Doppler
  • Vascular ultrasound
  • Venous Doppler

Ultrasound technology is an important part of diagnosing heart and vascular conditions, including:

  • Aneurysms
  • Blocked arteries
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve problems
  • Holes in the heart​
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
  • Varicose veins​

​For more information, call 940.535.7201 or toll-free 1.855.760.0600; or for a physician referral, call 1.855.853.2679​.​

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