Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

What is a silent stroke?

Most strokes are caused by a clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. Those that damage small areas of brain tissue that don’t control any vital functions are known as silent strokes because they don’t cause any noticeable symptoms. (Locked) More »

Calcium scan concerns

Coronary artery calcium scans tend to be quite accurate. Unlike some other imaging tests, the results are unlikely to be either falsely negative or falsely positive because the results are literally black and white (the calcium shows up as white on the scan). (Locked) More »

Telemedicine: A good fit for cardiovascular care?

Virtual doctor visits—when a person talks to a physician on a video call instead of during an in-person office exam—became popular early on in the coronavirus pandemic. The technology may be a good option for managing cardiovascular disease even after in-person visits become more common again. In the future, remote monitoring of health data using Wi-Fi–enabled devices that measure a person’s weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, and heart rhythm could further advance telehealth’s promise. (Locked) More »

The best way to measure your blood pressure at home

To measure blood pressure accurately at home, one should get an approved blood pressure monitor and follow a particular set of steps. These include sitting at a table with one’s arm resting comfortably on it; keeping one’s back straight and feet flat on the floor; placing the blood pressure cuff around one’s bare upper arm; relaxing for five minutes before taking the first reading; remaining quiet while taking the blood pressure measurement; and waiting one to two minutes before taking another reading. (Locked) More »

Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)

A positron emission tomography, or PET, scan is an imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers attached to sugar molecules. The scan can detect changes in the body's metabolism and chemical activities. A PET scan is often done in conjunction with a CT scan. The combination provides a color-coded image of the body's structure and function. During a PET scan, the sugar molecules with the attached radioactive tracers are injected into a vein. Once the substance enters the body, it travels through the bloodstream to the body's organs. Areas in the body that have a higher rate of metabolism use more sugar. So these areas pick up the sugar molecules more readily than normal. The PET scanner uses computers to interpret the amount of tracer uptake in different parts of the body to create the color-coded images. Conditions that typically have higher metabolic rates include cancers, infections and neurological diseases. (Locked) More »

Screening for Birth Defects in Early Pregnancy (Combined Test, Integrated Test, and Quadruple Test)

A combination of blood test results and the findings seen on a fetal ultrasound can enable doctors to identify pregnancies that are at a higher risk for birth defects. Examples of birth defects that screening can identify are Down syndrome and neural tube defects (brain and spinal cord problems). If the screening tests suggest problems, your doctor might recommend additional tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, to confirm the findings. Before having this test done, you need to think carefully about what you would do with the results once you have them. The results of these screening tests cannot show for sure whether you have either a healthy fetus or one with a problem. They can only suggest which patients might want to go ahead with further testing. Either amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling is recommended after an abnormal triple screen. These additional tests have a small risk of miscarriage. Most people with an abnormal screening test decide to go ahead with amniocentesis. (Locked) More »

Thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. This important gland, located in the lower front portion of the neck, produces thyroid hormone, which regulates the body's production of energy. A healthy thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly, with right and left lobes connected by a bridge called the thyroid isthmus. Depending on the reason for a thyroidectomy, all or part of the thyroid gland will be removed. The various types of thyroidectomy include: A thyroidectomy may be performed by using a conventional surgical approach, by an endoscopic method done through smaller incisions, or by robotic assisted surgery. (Locked) More »

A new way to screen for cancer

Blood tests for cancer screening have shown much promise. New research suggests they have the potential to not only determine that cancer is present, but also determine the type of cancer. While still years away from being routine, this approach could be an innovative way to detect cancer earlier. (Locked) More »

How do doctors evaluate treatments for heart disease?

Research on drugs, diets, and devices to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease includes clinical trials and observational studies. In clinical trials, volunteers are randomly assigned to receive either the new treatment or the comparison, which may be a placebo (an inactive therapy) or a treatment that’s already available. Observational studies follow a large group of people over a long period of time and gather information on diet, exercise, and medical and family history, for example. All studies have strengths and weaknesses, but the evidence from clinical trials is the most trustworthy. (Locked) More »

Your breasts may offer clues about your heart health

A mammogram may show calcifications (small calcium deposits) in the arteries of the breast. These may signal that a woman has a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Arterial breast calcifications become more common with age. Some research has found that if a woman has calcifications in her breast arteries, she has a 70% chance of having calcifications in the coronary arteries as well. (Locked) More »