The Heart Centre team provides a broad range of services that enable us to diagnose and treat conditions related to the heart and blood vessels.
All our cardiologists have the expertise to undertake treadmill exercise tests, heart ultrasound or echocardiography, holter monitoring and blood pressure monitoring. These tests enable us to see what kind of physical stress your heart can cope with, whether the electrical and nervous impulses that make your heart work are firing properly, how well the heart muscle and valves are working, and identify the effect of blood pressure on your heart and your overall health.
To gain a complete picture of your heart, cardiologists can take pictures of it using a procedure called a coronary angiography, nuclear medicine techniques, or with a CT scanner. All these tests require highly specialised equipment and some require the joint skills of cardiologists and radiologists so they are not performed in the cardiologists rooms. (Visit Heart Vision site)
Once the data from all these tests is collected and collated, our cardiologists are able to precisely identify and understand any problems you may be having. This means, they can, for example, identify if the cause of the problem relates to your heart muscle, its nerves, its valves, or the blood vessels supplying the heart with oxygen (the coronary arteries). They can also identify if the problem lies with the blood vessels in the rest of the body. They then go on to examine any problems in detail. For example, in the case of coronary arteries they go on to identify exactly which specific part of the coronary arteries are damaged.
Taking pictures of the heart and blood vessels
Taking pictures of the heart requires sophisticated technology so Heart Centre has made a commitment to making sure our clinicians have access to the best equipment available. Heart Centre has invested in an advanced Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab), which is located at St George's Hospital (view map). This machine enables our cardiologists to obtain high-resolution images of the heart and its coronary arteries and other blood vessels around the body including those in the brain. This also enables us to perform angioplasty procedures to fix any problems that they find.
We have entered into a relationship with the Christchurch Radiology Group (CRG) so that our cardiologists can use their staff and CT scanner, a $2.2m Siemens Somatom definition, to get highly detailed three-dimensional pictures of the heart (CTCA). This is similar to having an x-ray. You simply lie on a table and the scanner takes pictures of your heart. The CRG radiologists make sure the pictures are of the highest quality. (Visit Heart Vision site)