Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

When do you need a heart stent?

An estimated two million people get stents every year to treat coronary artery blockage, yet the American Medical Association says they were one of the most highly overused medical interventions. While stents can be lifesaving for people who are having a heart attack, they may not be the best way to improve symptoms of stable angina or reduce the risk of a heart attack. Instead, they should make lifestyle changes and take medications that relieve symptoms and reduce heart attack risk. (Locked) More »

Biofeedback

Biofeedback tries to teach you to control automatic body functions such as heart rate, muscle tension, breathing, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure and even brain waves. By learning to control these functions, you may be able to improve your medical condition, relieve chronic pain, reduce stress, or improve your physical or mental performance (sometimes called peak performance training).   During biofeedback training, sensors attached to your body detect changes in your pulse, skin temperature, muscle tone, brain-wave pattern or some other physiological function. These changes trigger a signal a sound, a flashing light, and a change in pattern on a video screen that tells you that the physiological change has occurred. Gradually, with the help of your biofeedback therapist, you can learn to alter the signal by taking conscious control of your body's automatic body functions.  Although biofeedback has been used to treat a variety of health problems, there is little scientific evidence that it works for most of them. There are exceptions, however. Multiple studies show that biofeedback may be effective for certain types of urinary incontinence, diabetic fecal incontinence and anal pain related to excessive muscle contractions and constipation caused by problems with the muscles in the anus. Increasingly, biofeedback has been studied in other conditions with positive results. These include Raynaud's phenomenon, tension headache and fibromyalgia. (Locked) More »

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy refers to treatments that stimulate, enhance or suppress the body's own immune system.   Immunotherapy is also called:  Immunotherapy is used to treat certain types of cancer. It is also used to treat inflammatory diseases, such as. These include:  (Locked) More »

High calcium score: What’s next?

Otherwise healthy people who have a high score on a coronary artery calcium scan do not need an angiogram to confirm the findings. Instead, they should focus on lowering their cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors. (Locked) More »

Understanding ejection fraction

An ejection fraction is the percentage of blood that leaves the heart each time it contracts. The most common way to measure the ejection fraction is with an echocardiogram. A normal value is 55% to 65%. (Locked) More »

What to expect during an exercise stress test

Exercise stress tests, also known as treadmill tests, are done mainly in people with symptoms suggestive of heart disease. That usually means stable angina, or chest pain that occurs in predictable patterns during physical activity. The test uses an electrocardiogram to record the heart’s electrical activity while a person walks on a treadmill that gradually increases in speed and incline. Changes to the ECG can signify blood flow abnormalities caused by blockages in the heart’s arteries or other problems in the heart. (Locked) More »

Colposcopy

Colposcopy is an examination of a woman's vagina and cervix using a colposcope, a portable instrument with a light source and magnifying lenses. This instrument lets your doctor examine the cervix and vagina for cancer and abnormal areas that may become cancer. Colposcopy takes about 15 to 30 minutes and doesn't require anesthesia.  Doctors use colposcopy to check for cervical cancer or precancerous changes after an abnormal Pap test or as a follow-up procedure to view an abnormal area seen during an earlier gynecological examination. During colposcopy, your doctor can remove a sample of tissue from the cervix for testing (biopsy).  (Locked) More »