What to Expect: Sleep Study

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The National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimate that millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sleep disorders. Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life. There are numerous sleep disorders from which people suffer. Some symptoms of a sleep disorder can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant leg movement
  • Gasping episodes at night
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of energy

The Sleep Disorders Center at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is a comprehensive clinic supervised by a physician board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and is a Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study may involve the following: Polysomnogram (PSG) – a diagnostic test which monitors brain activity, breathing and leg movements which helps to evaluate sleep apnea (obstruction of air flow) or a condition known as periodic leg movements of sleep. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) – a daytime sleep study which evaluates how fast a person falls asleep.

What to Expect?

The first step will be an initial visit with our sleep specialist who will review your medical and sleep history. You will then schedule an appointment for an overnight visit. To help determine if a sleep disorder exists, your physician will need to know what physiologic changes occur during your typical night of sleep. We do this by recording your brainwave pattern (known as the EEG) as well as your eye movements and degree of muscle tone. Using an EKG monitor, we will measure your heart rate and check for irregular heart beats during the night. Other measurements will include oxygen saturation, snoring, leg movements or jerking and respiratory effort. An intercom in the room will allow communication with the technician should you have any questions or require assistance. Studies will usually begin between 8:00pm and 9:30 pm and will conclude at about 6am. You will then follow up with your physician who will make recommendations for treatment of the disorder.

How to Prepare?

In order to feel more comfortable with your stay, feel free to bring your toiletries and usual sleepwear and if you prefer, your own pillow. (It is helpful to avoid using hair products or skin lotions on the night of the study). It is recommended that you eat a meal prior to your study and continue to take medications as prescribed (unless your physician specifies otherwise). It is also preferred that you not consume foods or beverages containing caffeine after 5pm.

Using the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere, our team of sleep professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality of sleep for our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

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Traveling for the Holidays: Things to Remember

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Whether traveling for business or pleasure, most people do not think about the possibility of acquiring a travel-related illness. In fact, travel in undeveloped countries and many foreign or tropical countries outside of resort areas, does entail some risks for acquiring local or travel-related diseases.

The Travel Clinic at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is available to assist you with problems in this regard. We have a full-service clinic with disease-prevention strategies, information, vaccinations and medications available for travel essentially anywhere in the world. The travel clinic at ADC is supervised by Dr. Taylor Carlisle, a board certified Infection Disease specialist trained in Tropical Medicine and Public Health.

Staying Healthy When You Travel

If you are planning to take your family overseas for a vacation, or maybe you’re going on a mission trip with your church, Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic encourages you to take precautions prior to your trip. Our travel clinic not only provides immunizations, but also provides pre-travel counseling and post-travel health evaluations. It is recommended that you see your physician 6 to 8 weeks prior to your departure and then again; after your trip if you experience unusual health issues. Remember, it is easier to take precautions in preventing overseas illnesses than it is to treat them. Call Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic today and let our travel clinic staff assist you in planning for a healthy overseas adventure.

New Area, New Illness

People are basically the same no matter where you travel, but the diseases and illnesses can be very different.

The bacteria and germs that live in one country can be very different from those of another region. That’s why lots of people get sick when they travel – they don’t have natural immunity to these germs (or put another way, their bodies haven’t yet learned how to defend themselves against these new, potentially health-threatening invaders). A common example of this is ” traveler’s diarrhea,” which often occur when visitors drink tap water while away. Ever notice how the locals don’t suffer from this malady? That’s because they have natural immunity to the bacteria that are present in their water and you don’t.

Flu Season

Most people do find themselves getting sick while traveling, especially now that it’s flu season. For most, your illness will require a quick trip to the doctor and some antibiotics or anti-parasite medication. However, if you want to be ahead of the game then be sure to get a flu vaccination. Flu symptoms include the following:

  • body chills/aches
  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • runny nose

Finally…

It’s important to keep you and your family as healthy as possible during the holiday season. By getting the proper vaccination, you could be saving yourself a lot of time and money in the long-run. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

Your Type Of Headache: How We Can Help

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Some information provided by the Mayo Clinic.

It’s common for people to experience headaches from time to time. However, if you have a headache more days than not, you may be experiencing chronic daily headaches. The incessant nature of chronic daily headaches makes them among the most disabling headaches. The Headache Center offers treatment that may reduce pain and lead to fewer headaches. Some headaches are mild and nagging while others can be severe and debilitating. Headache pain can lead to:

  • Lost time at work
  • Poor job performance
  • Missed time with family and friends

By definition, chronic daily headaches occur 15 days or more a month, for at least three months. True (primary) chronic daily headaches aren’t caused by another condition. Headaches can be frustrating and difficult to treat and can be caused by a number of issues including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Food allergies

Types of Headaches

  • Migraine headaches
    Pain may be generalized, or on one side or both sides of the head
    Can cause mood swings, fatigue, food craving, nausea, vomiting or vertigo
    May also cause visual disturbances or sensitivity to light and sound, flashing lights or floaters
    Usually last 4-72 hours
  • Tension headaches
    Usually occurs at the base of your head and is usually on both sides of your head
    Dull, vice-like pressure around the head
    Can be triggered by stress or muscle tension, poor ergonomics or body mechanics
    Can be intermittent and lasting throughout the day
  • Cluster headaches
    Pain may affect the eye, temple, face and/or neck areas
    Sudden and excruciating pain that can happen at night waking you up from sleep
    May be accompanied with a runny nose on one side or nasal stuffiness
    May cause watering in one eye
    Can occur at the same time for several days
  • Chronic daily headaches
    Daily or nearly daily headache for more than 3 months
  • Medication overuse headaches
    Use of an analgesic more than 3 times weekly for more than 3 months
  • Sinus Headache
    Pain or pressure occurring behind the brow bone or cheek bone
    Often accompanied with nasal or sinus congestion
    Ear fullness

Treatment

You should seek treatment if:

  • Sudden onset of excruciating pain
  • First or worst headache of your life
  • Worsening pattern of headaches
  • Fever associated with a headache
  • Rapid onset of headache with strenuous exercise
  • Any change in mental status or level of consciousness
  • New headache in patients under 5 or over 50

Your doctor will likely examine you for signs of illness, infection or neurological problems. He or she will ask about your headache history. If the cause of your headaches remains uncertain, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, to look for an underlying medical condition. If you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions, contact us.

It’s time to take control of your health. Contact us if you think you might be experiencing signs of chronic headaches or if you have any questions.

Taking Care of Your Lung Health: Pulmonary Function Testing

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Some information provided by Medicine Plus.

Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  It also helps to determine how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  This test is helpful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders such as asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How The Test Is Performed

By measuring how much air you exhale, and how quickly you exhale, spirometry can evaluate a broad range of lung diseases. In a spirometry test, while you are sitting, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and the rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time. When standing, some numbers might be slightly different.

For some of the test measurements, you can breathe normally and quietly. Other tests require forced inhalation or exhalation after a deep breath. Sometimes, you will be asked to inhale a different gas or a medicine to see how it changes your test results.

Lung volume measurement can be done in two ways:

  • The most accurate way is called body plethysmography. You sit in a clear airtight box that looks like a phone booth. The technologist asks you to breathe in and out of a mouthpiece. Changes in pressure inside the box help determine the lung volume.
  • Lung volume can also be measured when you breathe nitrogen or helium gas through a tube for a certain period of time. The concentration of the gas in a chamber attached to the tube is measured to estimate the lung volume.

How to Prepare For the Test

If you’re on medications that open your airways, such as those used for asthma or bronchitis, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them before the test. If it isn’t clear whether or not you should take your medication, make sure to ask your doctor. Pain medications may also affect the results of the test. It may be suggested that you do not eat a heavy meal before the test. If you’re a smoker, do not smoke 4-6 hours before the test. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands – you will get specific instructions before the test is performed.

Why the Test is Performed

Pulmonary function tests are done to:

  • Diagnose certain types of lung disease, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Find the cause of shortness of breath
  • Measure whether exposure to chemicals at work affects lung function
  • Check lung function before someone has surgery
  • Assess the effect of medication
  • Measure progress in disease treatment

Results

Normal values are different from person-to-person. The differences are based on your age, height, ethnicity, and gender. Normal results are expressed as a percentage. A value is usually considered abnormal if it is approximately less than 80% of your predicted value.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. Abnormal results could potentially mean that you may have chest or lung disease. Some lung diseases (such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and infections) can make the lungs contain too much air and take longer to empty. These lung diseases are called obstructive lung disorders. Other lung diseases make the lungs scarred and smaller so that they contain too little air and are poor at transferring oxygen into the blood. Examples of these types of illnesses include:

  • Extreme overweight
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring or thickening of the lung tissue)
  • Sarcoidosis and scleroderma

Muscular weakness can also cause abnormal test results, even if the lungs are normal, that is similar to the diseases that cause smaller lungs.

After your test is completed, your healthcare provider will talk with you about your test results. It’s time to take control of your health and get tested. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Good Sleep – Healthy Heart

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Sleep is a time of rest for the entire body. Even the heart, which works day and night, naturally slows down during sleep. That’s why unhealthy heart function can deprive the body of restful sleep. Yet, the relationship between heart function and sleep works both ways. For instance, sleep-related breathing disorders have been shown to play a major role in causing several types of heart and blood vessel disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Many things can be done to maintain a healthy heart: eat a nutritional diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, get regular medical check-ups, and get adequate amounts of good quality sleep. If you have any kind of heart condition, it is especially to watch signs that you may have a sleep related breathing disorder, such as OSA, which could stress your heart.

Breathing Disorders And The Heart

People with OSA are often overweight and experience loud snoring, gasping or choking episodes while sleeping, as well as trouble staying awake during the daytime. If you already have hypertension or cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, stroke), talk with your healthcare professional about whether or not you may have a sleep and breathing disorder, such as OSA or CSA. It is also important that patients with congestive heart failure be monitored for CSA and other sleep disorders. In contrast to people with OSA, those with heart failure and CSA are commonly thin and may not snore at all. If your healthcare professional thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may suggest you have a diagnostic test, called a sleep study, or refer you to a sleep medicine specialist. Sleep studies are usually done in a sleep laboratory. Small sensors called electrodes are attached to your body to measure your sleep, breathing heart rate and oxygen level. The sleep specialist will be able to determine whether you have any abnormalities in the quality of your sleep. Your healthcare professional is then given the results and the two of you can decide on the best course of treatment. Sleep disorders are treatable, and treatment can lead to a more healthy heart.

How To Sleep Well

  • Get up about the same time every day.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack, or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Vigorous exercise should be confined to the early part of the day, light exercise should take place at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Maintain a regular schedule.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day; mid-afternoon is best for most people.
  • Never combine sleeping pills and alcohol.

Sleep isn’t just a “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. If you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep, contact us to schedule an appointment or answer any questions.

Coping With Restless Legs Syndrome: What Can Be Done

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You may think you’re managing to cope with your Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). You may even be getting treatment or taking medication for it. But the truth is, if you’re dealing with RLS  symptoms over and over, you’re stuck in a coping routine that’s affecting your life and changing your behavior.

RLS Isn’t Just About Your Legs

Studies have shown that RLS is actually a neurological condition that causes those unusual sensations in your legs. People with RLS describe the urge to move their legs in many different ways. Two common descriptions are a tingly-tightening sensation in the legs or a creepy-crawly feeling under the skin.

If you’ve ever experienced these symptoms, you know how frustrating RLS can be. Just when you’re about to relax, you feel uncomfortable sensations that give you the urge to move your legs. The symptoms can appear any time but most often occur in the evening or at night when you’re trying to rest. If you recognize these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor:

  • An urge to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant leg sensations
  • Symptoms begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity such as lying or sitting
  • Symptoms are partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking or stretching, at least as long as the activity continues.
  • Symptoms are worse or occur only in the evening or at night

Talk To Us

Only your doctor can diagnose RLS, so if you are experiencing the symptoms discussed above, we can help you find out for sure. It’s important for your doctor to know as much as possible when it comes to making a diagnosis, so be sure to:

  • Discuss the symptoms you’re having
  • Tell your doctor about your medical history, and if anyone in your family has RLS
  • Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter and prescription, as well as any herbal or vitamin supplements.

Treatment Options

There are two types of RLS: primary RLS, a chronic condition that can be hereditary, and secondary RLS, which is caused by another condition (such as pregnancy or iron-deficiency) and may resolve once the underlying condition no longer exists. Only your doctor can diagnose the type of RLS you may have and provide appropriate treatment options.

Now that you know that RLS is a neurological condition, you should also know that there are treatment options that can help, including medications and non-medication options. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment. 

Stay Sharp: Test Your Brain Wave Activity

ADC - Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a test that measures your brain wave activity (brain function). Your doctor may order this test to check for seizures or other brain problems. For this test, small metal disks (electrodes) are attached to the scalp with glue, or with water-based gel or paste. During the test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. They will be studied to assess your brain function. In some people who are prone to seizures, parts of this test may slightly increase their chance of having a seizure. But the benefits of this test outweigh the risk.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Wash and dry your hair. But don’t use any hair styling products. Your scalp and hair should be clean and free of excess oil. Take your routine medications, unless told not to. You may be asked to sleeping during the EEG. To help you do this, you may be told to stay up all or part of the night before the test. Or, you may be given medication to help you sleep during the test. If so, someone will need to drive you home after the test. Your test will take about 90 minutes. But allow extra time to check in. Don’t forget to let your technologist know:

  • What medications you take
  • About any seizures you may have had in the past

During Your Test

You will sit in a reclining chair or lie down on an exam table in a softly lighted room. The technologist will measure certain points on your head He or she will use a special pencil to mark the spots where electrodes will be placed on your scalp. Your scalp will be rubbed with a mild abrasive, and electrodes will be attached. You will then be asked to do any of the following:

  • Relax, and open and close your eyes.
  • Breathe rapidly and deeply for a few minutes.
  • Sense a flashing light through your closed eyes.
  • Relax and go to sleep.

After Your Test

When your test is done, all of the electrodes will be removed. At home, wash your hair to remove any remaining glue, gel or paste. You can get right back to your normal routine. If you stopped taking any medications before the test, ask your doctor when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

Remember to avoid caffeine, but eat meals as usual. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

Traveling Overseas? Don’t Forget Your Vaccinations.

ADC - traveling

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, most people do not think about the possibility of acquiring a travel-related illness. In fact, travel in undeveloped countries and many foreign or tropical countries outside of resort areas, does entail some risks for acquiring local or travel-related diseases. The Travel Clinic at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is available to assist you with problems in this regard. We have a full-service clinic with disease-prevention strategies, information, vaccinations and medications available for travel essentially anywhere in the world. The travel clinic at ADC is supervised by Dr. Taylor Carlisle, a board certified Infection Disease specialist trained in Tropical Medicine and Public Health.

If you are planning to take your family overseas for a vacation, or maybe you’re going on a mission trip with your church, Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic encourages you to take precautions prior to your trip. Our travel clinic not only provides immunizations, but also provides pre-travel counseling and post-travel health evaluations. It is recommended that you see your physician 6 to 8 weeks prior to your departure and then again; after your trip if you experience unusual health issues. Remember, it is easier to take precautions in preventing overseas illnesses than it is to treat them. Call Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic today and let our travel clinic staff assist you in planning for a healthy overseas adventure.

Vaccinations

  • You should get vaccinated against any diseases that may be endemic to the region where you’re headed at least four weeks before a trip out of the country.
  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site to learn more about diseases you may come in contact with during your trip.

People are basically the same no matter where you travel.
But the diseases and illnesses can be very different.

The bacteria and germs that live in one country can be very different from those of another region. That’s why lots of people get sick when they travel – they don’t have natural immunity to these germs (or put another way, their bodies haven’t yet learned how to defend themselves against these new, potentially health-threatening invaders). A common example of this is ” traveler’s diarrhea,” which often occur when visitors drink tap water while away. Ever notice how the locals don’t suffer from this malady? That’s because they have natural immunity to the bacteria that are present in their water and you don’t.

You should ask your healthcare provider if you think you will need vaccinations before traveling. Contact us to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

 

 

The Ultimate Guide: Pulmonary Function Testing

ADC Pulmonary testing

Some information provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine

Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  It also helps to determine how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  This test is helpful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders such as asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are 2 types of disorders that cause problems with air moving in and out of the lungs:

  • Obstructive. This is when air has trouble flowing out of the lungs due to resistance. This causes a decreased flow of air.
  • Restrictive. This is when the chest muscles can’t expand enough. This creates problems with air flow.

There are many different reasons why pulmonary function tests (PFTs) may be done. They are sometimes done in healthy people as part of a routine physical. Or you may have PFTs if your healthcare provider needs help to diagnose you with a health problem such as:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Lung Fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis  (a condition in which the airways in the lungs stretch and widen)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (formerly known as“emphysema”)
  • Asbestosis (a condition caused by exposure to asbestos)
  • Sarcoidosis (an inflammation of your lungs, liver, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, or other tissues)
  • Scleroderma (a disease that affects your connective tissue)
  • Pulmonary Tumor
  • Lung Cancer

PFTs are usually safe for most people. However, because the test may require you to breathe in and out quickly, you may feel dizzy and there’s a risk that you might faint. If you feel lightheaded, tell your doctor. The test may cause you to have an asthma attack if you have asthma. In extremely rare cases, PFTs may be responsible for a collapsed lung.

A few pieces of advice are to avoid eating a large meal before testing. A full stomach can prevent lungs from inhaling fully. A person should also avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee, and tea, before the test. Caffeine can cause airways to open. Lastly, a person should also avoid smoking and strenuous exercise before the test.

Contact us for any questions or to set up an appointment.

 

Key Benefits of Radiology That You Should Know

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Information provided by the RadiologyInfo.org

At ADC, our Diagnostic Imaging Department is equipped to provide a wide range of radiology services. These services include CT Scans, General and Vascular Ultrasonography, Bone Density testing and EKG’s. All studies are interpreted by independent radiologists who are board-certified by the American Board of Radiology. Listed below are the key benefits of each test and what it can do for the body.

CT Scans

A computed tomography (CT) of the body uses special x-ray equipment to help detect a variety of diseases and conditions. CT scanning is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate. In emergency cases, it can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.

Benefits of CT include:

  • Determining when surgeries are necessary
  • Reducing the need for exploratory surgeries
  • Improving cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Reducing the length of hospitalizations
  • Guiding treatment of common conditions such as injury, cardiac disease and stroke

General/Vascular Ultrasonography

Vascular ultrasounds use sound waves to test the body’s circulatory system to help identify blockages and detect blood clots. A Doppler ultrasound study is a technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel. An ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, has no known harmful effects, and provides a clear picture of soft tissues that don’t show up well on x-ray images.

Benefits of a ultrasonography include:

  • Most ultrasound scanning is noninvasive (no needles or injections).
  • Occasionally, an ultrasound exam may be temporarily uncomfortable, but it is almost never painful.
  • Ultrasound is widely available, easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods.
  • Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
  • Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.

Bone Density

Bone densitometry uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis and to estimate an individual’s risk for developing fractures. It’s simple, quick and noninvasive. Additionally, it’s the most accurate method for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Benefits of a bone density test include:

  • DXA bone densitometry is a simple, quick and non-invasive procedure.
  • No anesthesia is required.
  • The amount of radiation used is extremely small—less than one-tenth the dose of a standard chest x-ray, and less than a day’s exposure to natural radiation.
  • Bone density testing is the most accurate method available for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and is also considered an accurate estimator of fracture risk.
  • The equipment is widely available making bone densitometry testing convenient for patients and physicians alike.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.

EKG

Screening tests may include laboratory tests to check blood and other fluids, genetic tests that look for inherited genetic markers linked to disease, and imaging tests that produce pictures of the inside of the body. These tests are typically available to the general population; however, an individual’s needs for a specific screening test are based on factors such as age, gender and family history. An EKG measures the electrical activity of the heart and reveals information on heart rate and rhythm.

The benefits on an EKG may include:

  • Cardiac CT for calcium scoring is a convenient and noninvasive way of evaluating whether you may be at increased risk for a heart attack.
  • The exam takes a small amount of time, causes no pain and does not require injection of contrast material.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT examination.
  • X-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.

Staying healthy is one of the most important things that a person can do for themselves. Contact us to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment.