Heart Failure Detection and Diagnosis
Congestive heart failure can be difficult to diagnose. There is no single test, and problems in one area often affect another as the body compensates for the heart's lowered efficiency. This ripple effect can send other organs into failure and create serious conditions throughout your body.
"Diagnosing heart conditions can be complex," says Jill Kalman, MD, Director of the Cardiomyopathy Program at Mount Sinai Heart and Associate Professor of Cardiology. "We need to look at the heart in many different ways to understand both its functional and structural problems."
Your doctor may make an initial diagnosis of heart failure after taking your medical history and performing a thorough physical examination. This can determine if you are at risk or have any underlying conditions that can lead to heart failure. You will need additional comprehensive tests, though, to pinpoint where and how severe your condition is.
The Mount Sinai Heart Cardiovascular Imaging Center employs state-of-the-art precision technology to provide accurate and complete diagnosis for each patient. Our imaging laboratories offer highly specialized services and advanced diagnostic testing. These include:
- Echocardiography..Echocardiography employs high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to assess the heart's function, particularly to learn how well its chambers and valves are doing their jobs. Transesophageal echocardiography is used to get a closer view of some structures of the heart. For greater accuracy, clinicians will monitor ultrasounds by inserting a probe into the esophagus, which is located near the heart.
- Computed tomography imaging. For highly detailed images of the heart, the Mount Sinai Heart Cardiovascular Imaging Center offers advanced computerized tomography (CT) technology. This procedure enables our doctors to obtain accurate pictures quickly and safely. Mount Sinai Heart has one of the fastest CT scanners, enabling our doctors to obtain data much more quickly, and dramatically reducing the amount of radiation exposure patients receive.
- Computed magnetic resonance imaging. Mount Sinai Heart uses high-field cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) with dedicated cardiac imaging systems designed to work at twice the strength of conventional CMR equipment. Clinicians detect and identify conditions, monitor the effects of various drug therapies, and identify medications that hold the most promise for preventing clinical events with these multimodal imaging tools.
- Positron emission tomography (PET). Cardiac PET is a sophisticated, noninvasive method of studying the heart. The procedure makes use of tracer drugs that emit particles called positrons. Like X-rays, positrons are visible using an imaging device called a gamma camera. PET scans provide unique information about the metabolic functioning of the heart and other organs.
- Cardiopulmonary stress tests. Assessing the long-term prognoses of heart failure patients is important. Cardiopulmonary stress testing enables Mount Sinai physicians to gather this information. Our physicians can then help patients understand the challenges their conditions pose and guide them to proper management and treatment. The noninvasive procedure evaluates how your heart, lungs, and muscles respond to exercise. By putting a patient on a bicycle or a treadmill, doctors can measure how much oxygen your heart consumes during exercise.