Heart Attack Diagnosis

As one of the leading cardiology programs in the region, Fletcher Allen in Burlington, VT, offers all types of heart attack treatment and diagnosis. Patients have access to leading technology and work with highly trained and experienced cardiologists who are on the frontiers of cardiac medicine. 

Our fast and effective system of care has lead to better outcomes – a fact supported by Vermont’s ranking as one of the top five states in the nation for heart attack survival. 

Heart Attack Diagnosis

At Fletcher Allen, heart (also called cardiac) specialists are available and on call for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These specialists work closely with emergency medicine physicians to thoroughly assess your problem and make a diagnosis. 

The process of diagnosis may involve the following:

 

  • Physical examination – You will be asked to describe your symptoms and have your blood pressure, pulse and temperature checked immediately. You will also be asked about your health history and any history of heart disease in your family. 
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – This is the first test doctors will use to determine if you are having a heart attack. At Fletcher Allen, the test may be administered in the ambulance en route to the Emergency Department, or in the Emergency Department. It records electrical activity of your heart through electrodes attached to your skin. An ECG can show that a heart attack has occurred or is in progress. 
  • Blood tests – Blood tests can show if higher levels of certain enzymes, usually found in the heart muscle, have leaked into your blood. Leaks occur when the heart muscle has been damaged by a heart attack.
  • Chest X-ray – An X-ray shows the size and shape of your heart and major blood vessels. These images will allow our chest imaging specialists to identify damage to the heart.
  • Nuclear scan – Nuclear medicine experts at Fletcher Allen inject trace amounts of radioactive material into your bloodstream. This material is visible on special cameras, allowing doctors to identify a narrowed or blocked heart artery. 
  • Echocardiogram – This test uses sound waves to create a video image of your heart when functioning. It can help determine if an area of your heart isn’t pumping as it should.
  • Coronary catheterization or angiogram – Cardiologists in Fletcher Allen’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory inject a dye into the arteries of your heart through a long, thin tube called a catheter. The dye is visible on X-ray and video, helping to identify any blocked or narrowed arteries. 
  • Stress tests – This test may be ordered in the weeks following your heart attack. It 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.

 

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-4600.