Cardiology - Tilley Drive
62 Tilley Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403-4407
Chest pain has many causes, some of which are life threatening, such as a heart attack. Seek professional medical help immediately and get the care and expertise of a specialized group of physicians who work together as a team to provide advanced care.
The University of Vermont Medical Center's cardiologists and heart surgeons are available and on call for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These experts work closely with emergency medicine physicians to thoroughly assess your problem and make a diagnosis.
Chest Pain Diagnosis
Time is of the essence in diagnosing chest pain, and the evaluation may begin even before you arrive at the hospital. Local ambulances en route to The UVM Medical Center are outfitted with mobile electrocardiograms (ECG). This gives emergency medical service crews important information to share with the Emergency Department, giving cardiac specialists a head start in preparing your treatment. This is why the ambulance is the best way to get to the hospital when you have a chest pain emergency.
Diagnosing Chest Pain: Specialized Cardiac Imaging
The UVM Medical Center's cardiac imaging specialists are cardiologists who are specially trained in the latest technology and techniques used to diagnose cardiac problems. The process of diagnosis may involve the following:
- Physical Examination: You will likely have your blood pressure, pulse and temperature checked immediately. The physician will ask questions about:
- The location of your pain
- The type of pain
- Whether or not you have any other symptoms
- Electrocardiogram: This test, also called an EKG or ECG, records the electrical activity of your heart through electrodes attached to your skin. An ECG may show that a heart attack has occurred or is in progress.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can show if higher levels of certain natural chemicals, usually found in the heart muscle, have leaked into your blood.
- Stress tests: This test shows how your heart and blood vessels respond to exertion. It compares the electrical activity of the heart before, during, and after physical exercise, and can help determine if your pain is related to your heart.
- Chest X-ray: An x-ray can be useful in showing condition of your lungs, as well as the size and shape of your heart and major blood vessels. These images will allow our chest x-ray specialists to identify any damage.
- Nuclear scan: Nuclear medicine experts at The UVM Medical Center inject trace amounts of radioactive material into your bloodstream. This material is concentrated in the heart muscle and is visible on special cameras, allowing doctors to identify heart muscle starved of blood flow due to a blockage.
- Coronary catheterization or angiogram: Experts in The UVM Medical Center's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory inject a dye into the arteries of your heart through a catheter. The dye is visible on x-ray and video, helping to identify any blocked or narrowed arteries.
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan: The UVM Medical Center's Emergency Department features a highly advanced CT scanner. This advanced technology provides comprehensive images of organs within seconds with a high degree of accuracy. The latest-generation specialized CT scanners available at The UVM Medical Center allow specialists to see if your heart's coronary arteries have significant plaque buildup that leads to blockages.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your body. The specialists at The UVM Medical Center are experts at imaging the heart with MRI. They look for abnormalities in heart structure and function, and they can measure scar after a heart attack.
- Echocardiogram: This is an ultrasound of the heart, using no radiation. It is a safe and non-invasive way to look at the heart's pumping function and at the heart valves. Echocardiography uses sound waves to create a live video image of your heart.
- Endoscopy: With this test, a scope with a tiny camera on the end is inserted into your throat, allowing doctors to see your esophagus and stomach. Endoscopy can be used to identify any gastro-esophageal problems that may be related to your chest pain.