Cardiology deals with the study of the structure, function and diseases of the heart, as well as the diagnosis of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels.
Throughout the world there is a very large increase in the number of heart disease, including patients at a younger age. Diseases of the cardiovascular system has firmly taken the first position in the leading cause of death of patients in developed countries. Myocardial infarction is increasing in patients younger than 30 years and throughout the male population.
Swissmedic excells in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, successfully putting into practice all the technical and laboratory innovations developed in the world.
Methods of diagnosis:
- Echocardiography to evaluate the structure and function of the heart, to identify anomalies of the heart valve, pulmonary hypertension and to find congenital heart diseases. This method is very effective in the monitoring of heart failure.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart is a new method of research, enabling dynamic images with high resolution and wide fields of views. A few years ago, it was possible to make only static images. Thanks to technological advances, it is now possible to observe completly a pulsating organ such as the heart.
- Cardiac stress test shows how the heart copes with physical activity. This method is used in the search for coronary heart disease caused by narrowing of the venous artery. It also helps to monitor the patient after a heart attack or after surgery of the coronary arteries, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery. Finally, it provides a measure of physical ability. The test measures the volume of blood flowing into the heart and detects heart muscle damages (e.g., as a result of infarction).
- 24-hour Holter and a 7-day test R- recorded heart beat for one day or one week. They can detect the presence of arrhythmia, bradycardia (heart rate reduction) or cardiac interruptions that may cause great discomfort. By 24-hour blood pressure profile, we mean pressure over night. This average pressure is important for proper diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.
- Scintigraphy of the heart (myocardium): allows to study the blood supply to the heart muscle by using a radio-isotope, administered intravenously, it is carried out as a complement to the stress test.
What is it for?
The heart muscle (myocardium) is irrigated by the coronary arteries that deliver the oxygen necessary for normal functioning of the heart. The narrowing of the coronary artery leads to a lack of oxygen in the heart, leading to pain, at least at first: this is an ischemia, the most common symptom is angina.When one of these arteries is completely blocked, the lack of oxygen can lead to necrosis of the artery: a case of necrosis or infarction.
Myocardial scintigraphy allows you to visualize the blood supply to the heart muscle. It improves the accuracy of the stess test and clearly defines the problem area in the heart muscle: it can be useful when many coronary arteries are narrowed and it is necessary to identify the one that is responsible for the symptom in terms of possible dilation. Some of the coronary vessels can not be detected by conventional electrocardiogram. Whereas, myocardial scintigraphy, combined with the stress test gives the possibility of obtaining an accurate assessment of the state of your heart, especially the coronary circulation.
- Determination of the concentration of calcium in the coronary arteries: it quantifies the congestion of coronary atherosclerotic plaques, but this test does not tell us about the location or the extent of narrowing of certain arteries, as well as it does not replace the functional imaging, which gives the opportunity to study the blood supply to the heart muscle and determine the location of a coronary stenosis. Determination of the concentration of calcium in the coronary arteries is an anatomical test for the presence and amount of plaque, it is a complementary test. High levels of calcium is the highest risk factor for future complications, higher than all other risk factors combined. This analysis is absolutely painless and usually takes 15 minutes. It does not require special preparation.
- Coronary angiography: it is a minimally invasive, radio-opaque method of research of vessels of the heart, which can accurately determine the location, nature and extent of narrowing of the coronary arteries. Coronary angiography was introduced into medical practice in the 60s of the last century, and has proved to be a reliable, effective and safe technique. Coronary angiography is used in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease, when you need to determine the location of the narrowed portion of the coronary artery.