Heart Tests and Scans

Problems such as shortness of breath and an unusual heartbeat can it make more difficult to enjoy your life. They can also indicate a structural heart problem, which can lead to serious complications without diagnosis and treatment.

The Center for Structural Heart Disease has years of experience diagnosing and treating heart problems. Before recommending treatment, our team at Henry Ford Health System uses advanced heart tests and heart scans to make the right diagnosis.

Experts in diagnosing structural heart disease

Effective treatment for a structural heart condition begins with an accurate diagnosis. Our center is known as a national leader in advanced imaging, creating new and better methods to view the heart. We take promising diagnostic approaches from the lab and turn them into actual tools to improve your care.

We use the latest 3D scans to examine your heart from every angle, including its chambers and valves. We can also record how your heart works over short bursts, adding time to the equation to create 4D imaging. By taking results from multiple tests, we get more than one view of your heart and truly understand your needs.

Team approach to reading and interpreting heart images

Our doctors work together to plan your care. Although you may meet with just a few members of our team during your evaluation, other specialists also contribute.

Each week we hold a special team meeting to discuss cases, including test results and other diagnostic details. Together, our team determines whether you need additional tests, before recommending the best treatments to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Heart tests and scans we use

Depending on your diagnosis and previous test results, our doctors may recommend additional heart tests and scans. We use the most advanced tools to confirm a diagnosis and plan your treatment.

Our highly skilled imaging technologists have extensive experience. They can get detailed images and information about your unique heart using the following heart tests and scans:

  • Cardiac catheterization: We use this minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat heart conditions. Our team inserts a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel and threads it through to the heart.
  • Cardiac MRI: This imaging uses magnets and radio waves to produce still or moving images of the heart. We use cardiac MRI to check for heart valve or other structural problems.
  • Chest X-ray: Our team uses low-dose radiation to create images of the heart, to check its size and shape. X-rays can also detect calcium deposits in blood vessels or on the sac (pericardium) that surrounds the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): After attaching electrodes (sticky patches) to the skin, we connect them with wires to a machine that records the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Doppler ultrasound: Our team uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the heart. We can see the speed and direction of blood flow through the heart valves.
  • Echocardiogram (echo): This ultrasound test uses sound waves to create moving pictures of the heart. We can check for clots, view how well the heart is working and look for structural problems.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): This ultrasound test produces sound waves from a probe placed inside the esophagus, which connects the throat and stomach. By going inside the esophagus, doctors can get closer to the heart, while avoiding ribs and other structures that can block their view.
  • Heart computed tomography (CT) scan: We use this scan to take detailed pictures of the heart and its blood vessels, from various angles. Heart CT also lets us see how well the heart is pumping.

Creating 3D printed hearts using advanced heart scans

Depending on your diagnosis, we may use our advanced 3D printing to create an exact replica of your heart. Learn more about our 3D printing of the heart.

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