Echocardiogram

At Austin Heart Vet, we are pleased to serve the greater central Texas area in all areas of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology including but not limited to:


Comprehensive cardiac physical examinations
Evaluation of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems


Blood pressure measurement
Accurate blood pressure measurement with Doppler unit


Electrocardiography (ECG)
The interpretation of the electrical impulses of the heart on a high quality printout with 6 to 10 leads to evaluate for arrhythmias, conduction disturbances, and preanesthetic & prechemotherapeutic screens


Thoracic radiography
The interpretation of chest x-rays.  Chest x-rays are important in looking at the size and shape of the heart, the size of the lung vessels and great arteries, as well as evaluating the airways and lungs.  This is the gold standard diagnostic tool for evaluating for left sided congestive heart failure.


Echocardiography
Ultrasound of the heart.  This allows evaluation of the anatomy, mechanical function of the heart, as well as looking for leaks in valves, congenital and acquired heart defects and disease.  Using Doppler techniques, pressures in certain heart chambers can be estimated non-invasively.


Ambulatory electrocardiography/Holter & Event recorders
These are monitors that are attached to your pet for a specified period of time.  Holter monitors record the ECG continuously and are useful in evaluating severity/importance of ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias, as well as response to medication for these arrhythmias. In addition, they are commonly recommended in the diagnostic workup for dogs that have been fainting or collapsing.  Event monitors are worn for up to 5 days and the ECG is recorded when the button is pushed, allowing the owner to record an ECG directly when an episode is occurring.


Pericardiocentesis
Removal of fluid from the sac around the heart (pericardial effusion).  Pericardiocentesis can be an emergency procedure, as pericardial effusion can cause shock symptoms.  The patient is clipped and prepped, an ECG is monitored closely, local anesthesia is given as well as sedation in some patients, and a large catheter is advanced into the pericardial space.  Fluid is then drained and analyzed.


Thoracocentesis
Removal of fluid from the chest cavity (pleural effusion).  Thoracocentesis can be an emergency procedure, as pleural effusion can cause respiratory distress, especially in cats.  Removal of the fluid is often necessary to stabilize an animal.  A small area is clipped and cleanly prepped, and then a catheter is inserted into the chest cavity and fluid is drained and submitted for analysis.


Abdominocentesis
Removal of fluid from the abdominal cavity (ascites).  Abdominocentesis is not usually an emergency procedure.  Removal of the fluid often relieves discomfort in an animal.  A small area is clipped and cleanly prepped, and then a catheter is inserted into the abdominal cavity and fluid is drained and submitted for analysis.


Medical treatment of congestive heart failure
Heart failure is a condition where fluid builds up either in the air sacs of the lungs or in a body cavity, and is secondary to inadequate pump function of the heart.


Arrhythmia diagnosis and management
Arrhythmias are a disruption to the normal electrical activity of the heart.  Arrhythmias can be benign or can be life threatening.  An electrocardiogram is the method used to diagnose specific arrhythmias, and treatment with antiarrhythmic medication or interventional treatment (pacemaker) may be recommended.


OFA certification
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (www.offa.org) is a breed registry/database for purebred animals.  If you are intending to breed your animal, and it is a breed for which cardiac disease is known or suspected to be inherited, you should have your animal screened for cardiac disease prior to breeding.  You can download the forms at the OFA website listed above.  Please fill the appropriate sections out prior to your pet’s certification appointment.


ARCH Registry
The ACVIM Registry of Cardiac Health (ARCH) is a newly established registry.  It is a more comprehensive registry, limited to exams by board certified cardiologists.  Exam findings and certifications also include congenital and acquired disease.  To learn more, go to www.archcertify.org.