Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. It comes from the root words "cardio" meaning heart, "myo" meaning muscle, and "pathy" meaning disease. Cardiomyopathy is a progressive heart muscle disease that causes the heart to enlarge, thicken or stiffen. This, in turn, makes it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout your body, which can cause heart failure and other issues. Cardiomyopathy, however, can usually be treated and the earlier the intervention, the better your long-term prognosis and quality of life. Treatment can range from medications to surgically implanted devices, or in extreme cases, a heart transplant.
Click here for more information.
Device Clinic - We offer device clinics in Saginaw, Bay City, Cass City, and Shepherd so patients with Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) do not have to travel long distances for their in-person device appointments. We also offer remote monitoring services to decrease the number of in-person appointments. Education on devices and follow-up care is provided to the patient on a routine basis.
EKG - test that records the electrical impulses from the heart
Echocardiogram - uses sound waves to check your heart muscle or your valves
Carotid Doppler - uses sound waves to check the flow of blood in your neck arteries leading to your brain
ABI - ankle brachial index - compares pressures between the arms and legs, may also compare differences in pressures in different locations of the legs
Lower Extremity Dopplers - ultrasound (use of sound waves) of the arteries in the legs
Stress Testing - is done to determine how well your heart handles work. Also will determine if there is an area of your heart that doesn't seem to be getting enough blood flow.
- Exercise stress- you will walk on a treadmill while on a heart monitor to increase your heart rate. You will be monitored for changes on your EKG, and for shortness of breath. Your blood pressure will also be checked periodically during this.
- Stress Myoview- you will have a nuclear tracer given through an IV and pictures will be taken before and after an exercise stress test.
- Adenosine Myoview- instead of walking on a treadmill, medication will be given through an IV to increase your heart rate.
- Stress Echo- ultrasound pictures of your heart will be done before and after an exercise stress test.
- Dobutamine Stress Echo - ultrasound pictures will be done before and after receiving IV medication to increase your heart rate.
CT Angiogram - a special CT Scan in which IV dye is injected and blood vessels are examined.
- Carotids- looks at the arteries in the neck leading to the brain.
- Coronaries- looks at the heart arteries
- Abdomen & lower extremities- looks at the arteries in the abdomen, going to the kidneys, and down the legs.
Holter Monitor - continuous EKG monitoring for a set period of time (24, 48 hours, etc)
Event Monitoring - EKG monitoring in which patient would push a button if they felt sometime that didn't seem right, or device may also sometimes detect an abnormal rate and/or rhythm.
BP monitoring - may involve wearing a blood pressure cuff that inflates at set intervals for 24 hours to see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and in response to medications that may be prescribed.
Tilt Table Study - is done to diagnose dizziness or lightheadedness that is suspected to be caused by a drop in blood pressure. It starts lying flat and then being tilted until almost upright. Symptoms, blood pressure, pulse and EKG are monitored throughout the test.
EP Study - this is done to find out why your heart is not beating in a regular way. The doctor will insert thin tubes (catheters) into veins via your groin or arm. He will move them to determine what part of the heart is the problem. The tips of the catheters are like sensors that can tell the doctor why the heart isn't beating with the right rhythm.
Ablation - After an EP Study the doctor may recommend an ablation. Catheters containing special wires are threaded into the heart. Then energy waves are released to destroy (ablate) problem cells. This forces the heart's impulses to take the normal pathway.
Cardioversion - a controlled electrical shock to briefly stop all electrical activity and allow the SA node to reset and take over once again.
AICD insertion (Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators) - a small electronic device that's placed inside your body. It's a pacemaker with extra features. If your heart rate becomes dangerously fast, it may send impulses to slow it down or it may briefly shock the heart. If your heart rate is too slow, it sends impulses to bring the rate up to a normal speed (this is called pacing).
PPM insertion (Permanent Pacemaker) - a small electronic device that helps to correct a slow heartbeat. Signals will tell the heart when to contract. Sensors also keep track of your activity level and can adjust the signals as needed (speed up when you are active and slow down when you are resting).
Cardiac Catheterization - (coronary angiogram) this is a special x-ray test to see if your heart arteries are clogged. The doctor will insert a thin tube, called a catheter into an artery and up to the heart. Dye is then injected through the catheter into the arteries, which are viewed on a screen.
- Percutaneous coronary intervention- this opens blocked arteries and restores normal blood flow to your heart muscle.
- Stent placement- a wire mesh tube (stent) is inserted through the catheter to the blocked area and left in place, opening the blocked area.
- Balloon angioplasty- a balloon is inserted through the catheter to the blocked area and then slowly inflated to open the area. Sometimes just a balloon is needed or sometimes a stent needs to be placed.
- Athrectomy - in some instances the plaque is very hard and needs to be shaved away before a balloon or stent can be used. This is done through the same catheter as an angioplasty or stent.
Peripheral Procedures - a special x-ray test done to see if arteries in areas other than the heart are blocked. IV dye is injected into the arteries through a thin tube (catheter) inserted into the groin.
- Abdominal Aortogram with run-off- looks at the aorta and legs
- Renal Angiogram-looks at the arteries going to the kidneys
- Subclavian Angiogram- looks at the arteries in the upper chest leading to the arms and neck.
- Carotid Angiogram- looks at the arteries in the neck leading to the brain.
Peripheral Interventions - this opens blocked arteries other than the heart. It may take any combination of balloons, stents and/or athrectomy to open these arteries.
- Athrectomy- removal or shaving of hard plaque build-up.
- Stent Placement-a wire mesh, which is left in place to keep an artery open.
- Balloon angioplasty- a balloon is slowly inflated to open the area of the artery that is blocked.