Cardiology: Non-Invasive Cardiology Program

The UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville has invested in the most advanced diagnostic equipment to assist our team in determining the best possible treatment plan for you as quickly as possible. Our highly trained physicians and staff provide compassionate cardiac care in a state-of-the-art environment. The Non-Invasive Cardiology Program offers services to assist physicians in the diagnosis and therapy of a variety of heart diseases.

We provide a broad range of diagnostic, non-invasive cardiovascular services, including:

  • Two- and Three-Dimensional Transthoracic Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart. It's a safe, painless, non-invasive procedure that helps evaluate the structure and functioning of the heart for diagnosis of cardiac disease, abnormalities and as part of some cardiovascular research studies. During the test, your doctor or sonographer will place a device called a transducer on your chest and aim it at the heart. The transducer sends and receives sound waves that bounce off the heart while a computer takes the returning sound waves, or echoes, and turns them into pictures of the heart.
  • Exercise Stress Echocardiogram: A stress echocardiogram is used to detect and evaluate coronary artery disease during rest and with stress while pedaling a bicycle or exercising on a treadmill. This aids in evaluating cardiac functioning and helps detect cardiac ischemia, which is inadequate oxygen delivery to the heart muscle. Following exercise or other stress to the heart, the images reveal parts of the heart that may not be receiving enough blood or oxygen because of blocked arteries.
  • Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram: This non-invasive diagnostic tool is used to detect and evaluate coronary artery disease during rest and when the heart is beating fast. It's reserved for individuals unable to exercise (i.e. unable to walk on a treadmill or ride a bicycle for an exercise stress test). A medication called dobutamine is administered through an intravenous line to raise your heart rate to the same rate as if you were taking a stress echocardiogram. Sometimes, clinicians may need to administer an intravenous contrast agent to make the patient's echocardiogram easier to see.
  • Transesophageal Echocardiogram: Sometimes, accurate images of the heart chambers, valves, and covering of the heart can not be imaged satisfactorily from the chest wall (transthoracic echocardiogram). Transesophageal echocardiograhy is a painless ultrasound imaging exam where a specially designed probe is inserted into the esophagus. Prior to the test, you'll be given a topical numbing medicine and a mild sedative. During this test, you'll swallow a long flexible instrument with an ultrasound sensor located at the tip. The probe is passed through the mouth, down the back of the throat and into the esophagus and stomach. Live images are taken during the study to assess your heart, its chambers, valves and major blood vessels, giving a much clearer view of those structures. The images are recorded and are reviewed by the physician. A physician, a registered nurse and a sonographer (the individual who records the images) are in the room with you at all times.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): An electrocardiogram is a simple test that allows physicians to see the patient’s electrical signals traveling through the heart muscle. The test only takes a couple of minutes, for which a nurse or technologist will place electrodes on the patient’s chest, arms and legs and take readings.
  • Cardiac Stress Test: A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill or exercise test, determines how well your heart can handle work. You'll be connected to an EKG machine and a blood pressure cuff and a sensor may be attached to the finger to measure the level of oxygen in the blood. During the test, the electrical activity of the heart is measured while you walk on a treadmill. The pace of the treadmill will increase and the incline will rise during the course of the exercise. The stress test measures the heart's reaction to your body's increased demand for oxygen. The test continues until you reach a target heart rate, unless complications such as chest pain or an exaggerated rise in blood pressure develop with activity. Monitoring continues after exercise for 10 to 15 minutes or until your heart rate returns to baseline. The test shows if there is a lack of blood supply throughout the arteries that go to your heart. Taking a stress test also helps determine if you have heart disease, how severe it is and the kind of exercises that are appropriate for you.
  • Holter Monitoring: Holter monitoring is a continuous recording of a patient's heart rhythm, usually for 24 hours, during typical daily activities. It is especially useful in diagnosing abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmia. For this test, small conducting patches called electrodes are placed on your chest and attached to a small digital recording monitor that you can carry in a pocket or in a small pouch worn around your neck. Most current holter monitors and recorders are equipped with an event recorder or marker. When symptoms such as dizziness or palpitations occur, you simply press a button to note the time of the symptoms. This marks the tape so that the symptoms and electrocardiogram recording can be correlated during analysis.
  • Event Monitoring: Like holter monitoring, cardiac event monitoring is used to diagnose symptoms that are infrequent or sporadic; however, the monitor is worn for a longer period of time, about 30 days, to monitor heart rhythm and to record symptoms.
  • Tilt Table Study: The tilt table test is used to determine the cause of your fainting spells. During a tilt table study, you'll be connected to an EKG, oxygen monitor and blood pressure monitor and then strapped to a bed that's tilted in different directions. Your blood pressure and pulse are measured and symptoms are recorded while in various positions. The test is designed to cause a fainting spell in a controlled environment and shows how your heart rate and blood respond to changing positions.
  • Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI, CMRI): The magnetic resonance (MR or MRI) scanner uses radio-frequency waves and a strong magnetic field to provide remarkably clear, detailed pictures of the heart. This technology enables your physician to examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart and determine the extent of damage caused by a heart attack or by progressive heart disease.
  • Cardiac Multi-Slice Computer Tomography (CT): Computerized tomography, or CT, is a x-ray technique that produces more detailed images of your internal organs than do conventional x-ray studies. Our cardiac multi-slice CT uses multiple CT images to compile a 3-D image of coronary arteries in order to assess the patient's risk of coronary artery disease. The CT equipment sends a series of X-rays through one area of a patient's body, and then a computer processes the data collected to form a detailed view or slice of the area. The patient can be slightly moved numerous times in order to gain additional slices, which are then combined to produce a 3-D image of the area. CT angiogram reduces the need for invasive procedures in some patients.

Providers

  • Alan B. Miller, M.D.
    Professor
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Robert F. Percy, M.D.
    Associate Professor
    Specializes in Cardiac Rehabilitation; Cardiovascular Disease
  • Gladys P. Velarde, M.D., FACC
    Associate Professor
    Medical Director, Cardiovascular Women's Heart Program; Program Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
    Specializes in Cardiovascular Disease

Locations

  1. UF Health Cardiac Rehabilitation - Jacksonville

    1st Floor, Tower II
    580 West 8th Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32209

  2. UF Health Cardiovascular Center - Emerson

    Suite 120
    4555 Emerson Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32207

  3. UF Health Cardiovascular Center - Jacksonville

    5th Floor, Ambulatory Care Center
    655 West 8th Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32209

  4. UF Health Cardiovascular Center - North

    Suite 3600
    15255 Max Leggett Parkway
    Jacksonville, FL 32218