Diagnosis and Treatment
Our hospital offers state-of-the-art diagnostic
methods to detect heart disease and heart disorders. Some of our
Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic test
during which a long, thin tube called a catheter is places in a
blood vessel and guided to the heart. The catheter may be placed
into arteries and veins and is inserted into either arm or leg vessels.
A contrast medium, commonly called a dye, is then injected into
the catheter and helps determine where blockages or narrowing is
present in the coronary arteries. This test measures precisely how
well the heart valves and heart muscles are functioning and tests
such variables as oxygen content. Several special procedures may
be performed during catheterization, each tailored to the patient's
special needs. The procedure, which allows the physician to see
an outline of the coronary arteries as never before, takes about
half an hour and may be performed on either an outpatient or inpatient
basis in the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab. The extent
of possible blockages can be determined precisely and recovery time
Catheterization may be used to evaluate:
- Angina or undiagnosed chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- Abnormal electrocardiograms or exercise
- Abnormal heart rhythms
One of the most common reasons for catheterization
is to locate blockages from fatty deposits in the artery walls.
These deposits, or plaques, narrow the arteries and decrease the
blood flow to the heart. Catheterization can define the location
and extent of blockage to give the physician an exact diagnosis
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The stress EKG (electrocardiogram) or stress
test takes place on a treadmill or stationary bicycle under the
supervision of your cardiologist. As you exercise on the treadmill,
the EKG measures your heart's health under the stress of physical
activity. At the same time, your blood pressure and pulse are monitored
by a specially trained technician, who is an expert in stress testing.
Results of your test are evaluated by the cardiologist or your family
physician and aid in determining how fit you are and how safe an
exercise program is for you, or if a heart problem exists.
Thallium Nuclear Medicine Testing
Toward the end of a stress test, a small
amount of radioactive thallium can be injected into a vein to help
the cardiologist pinpoint certain problems. The amount of radiation
is minimal, and is often lower than that associated with an X-ray
An echocardiogram is a safe and painless
diagnostic procedure which uses high frequency sound waves to take
moving pictures of the heart. From the images produced by the echocardiogram,
it is possible to measure the size of each of the four chambers
of the heart, to study the appearance and motion of the heart valves
and to conclude how forcefully the heart muscles contract to move
the blood into each chamber of the heart and out to the lungs and
the rest of the body. Measurements taken from an echocardiogram
are useful to your physician in determining how well your heart
is working and pinpointing abnormalities.
Life after a heart attack may mean a special
diet and exercise, but it does not mean the end of a high-quality
life. Rehabilitation techniques have been used successfully for
years to promote and improve fitness, health, energy and a sense
of well-being in people with cardiovascular disease. Indian River
Memorial Hospital provides cardiac rehabilitation to patients to
improve exercise tolerance, energy and a sense of well-being. Specially
trained nurses and physical therapists utilize treadmills and lifecycles
in accordance with individual treatment plans. The center is supervised
by nurses trained in cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation
is generally covered by third party insurers. Most patients who
have had a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty, as well
as those with angina, valvular disease, hypertension or chronic
heart failure are candidates for cardiac rehabilitation. Please
check with your insurer for specific coverage information. IRMH
offers Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Citrus Medical Plaza in Vero
Cardiac Support Group
Mended Hearts, Chapter 235 of Vero Beach/Indian
The Mended Hearts, Inc., is an international, non-profit,
self-help organization for those who have had any heart problems,
and for their families, friends and interested persons. You need
not have had heart disease to become a member.
We have grown to an international status, with 250
chapters throughout the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Currently
there are approximately 30,000 members. The objectives of Mended
- To visit and encourage, with the approval of
a physician, persons with heart disease.
- To distribute information of specific educational
value to members and to other persons with heart disease.
- To counsel and provide advice and services, where
possible to families of patients experiencing heart problems.
- To establish a program of assistance to surgeons,
physicians and hospital staff in their work with heart patients.
- To cooperate with other organizations in educational
and research activities pertaining to heart illness.
- To plan and conduct suitable programs of educational
and social events at monthly meetings.
The Mended Hearts does not raise funds for patients,
but it serves as a referral service for help from various groups
like the American Heart Association, Visiting Nurse Service, Visiting
Homemakers, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and others.
Our motto is: It’s great to be alive –
and to help others. What a lift it is for persons having heart problems
to see a healthy Mended Heart. The Mended Heart gives the added
strength the patient needs to overcome many doubts and fears by
just being there. Families of patients need a special kind of help
IRMH Vascular Rehabilitation
A Step in the Right Direction
A leisurely stroll along the beach … a brisk
hike in the park … stepping outside to retrieve the newspaper.
These and hundreds of other daily activities involve
the simple act of walking. But for some, walking pain hinders these
everyday pursuits. But there is hope.
The Vascular Rehabilitation Program at IRMH
can help reduce or minimize painful walking caused by poor blood
circulation in the legs. The program is a medically supervised exercise
and education program for people with peripheral arterial disease
(PAD) or intermittent claudication. Specially trained nurses and
physical therapists supervise individualized treatment plans.
Some health insurance plans may reimburse for services and should
be contacted for specific coverage information.
IRMH’s Vascular Rehab Department is located in the hospital
on the first floor, directly across from the cafeteria.