If you don't know what road you are heading down, it's important to find out. Heart and vascular disease often runs in families. If it's in your family's history - and especially if your parents have had heart problems - you are at much greater risk. There's nothing you can do to change your genes, but there are steps you can take to create awareness. With our simple noninvasive cardiovascular screenings we can assess your specific risks and recommend strategies for keeping you healthy. The first step is to make an appointment - do it today.

Screenings Services are available at the following location:

Contact our office to make an appointment, 770-534-2020.

Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm Screening (AAA)

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. An aortic aneurysm is usually found in an area of severe atherosclerosis, unfortunately these abnormalities are often asymptomatic until they rupture which is usually fatal. Risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm include:

  Smoking
  High blood pressure
  High cholesterol
  Male gender
  Emphysema
  Genetic factors
  Obesity

A simple test can evaluate your risk. An abdominal ultrasound is an imaging procedure used to examine the blood vessels of the abdomen.

How the test is performed - You will be lying down for the procedure. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen. This helps with the transmission of the sound waves. A handheld probe called an ultrasound transducer is then moved over the abdomen. You may be asked to change position so that the technologist can examine different areas. You may also be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time during the examination. The ultrasound will look for abnormal enlargement of the aorta.

Click here for additional information about an aortic aneurysm

 

  Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)
 

ABI is a simple, reliable noninvasive means for diagnosing the presence or absence of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).  An ABI can also predict how severe an individual's atherosclerosis is and the potential risk of future leg problems (such as development of leg pain, poor healing of foot wounds, need for leg bypass surgery or amputation).  Lower ABI values are associated with a higher risk. In fact, it can also help predict the risk of future problems from atherosclerosis in other parts of the body such as heart attack and stroke.  

How the test is performed You will be asked to lie on your back while standard blood pressure cuffs are placed around your legs and arms.  These cuffs will be inflated briefly above your normal systolic blood pressure.  Once the cuffs are deflated, blood pressure measurements are taken using a painless, noninvasive Doppler ultrasound.  The arm and ankle systolic blood pressure measurements and Doppler wave forms are recorded and used to determine the presence or absence of obstructive PAD. 

Click here for additional information about an Ankle Brachial Index

Carotid Artery Screening

A carotid duplex is an ultrasound procedure to look for plaque buildup and other blood flow problems in the carotid arteries. These arteries are located on each side of the neck and carry blood from the heart to the brain. This test provides pictures of these blood vessels and information about the blood flowing through them. It is performed to detect narrowing or stenosis of the carotid artery, a condition that substantially increases the risk of stroke.

How the test is performed - The test is done in our vascular lab. You will be asked to lie on your back. Your head will be supported to prevent it from moving. The technologist applies a water-soluble gel on your skin and gently runs a handheld device called a transducer over the area of the carotid arteries in your neck. The device sends high-frequency sound waves to the arteries in your neck. The gel helps transmit the sound waves. The sound waves bounce off the blood vessels and form images of their structure.

Click here to view additional information regarding a carotid artery screening

Carotid Intima Medial Thickness (CIMT)
CIMT is a study utilized to detect atherosclerotic vascular disease at very early stages. This test measures the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery - the intima and media. This test can detect when the intima and media thickness is just a bit off baseline. Arterial thickening provides the earliest evidence of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, the beginning stage of a disease process that leads to heart disease and stroke. Doctors can use this carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) measurement to calculate the age of the patient's arteries, which does not always match the patient's calendar age and alerts physicians to any thickening when patients are still asymptomatic. Early detection may indicate the need for a more aggressive approach to managing the risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke.

How does CIMT work - The carotid intima-media thickness test takes advantage of the systemic nature of atherosclerosis. The common carotid artery is easily accessible in the neck by an ultrasound probe. High frequency sound waves allow us to measure the thickness of the inner two layers the carotid called the intima and media--without radiation exposure.

Read more about NASA's development of this test

Payment for Screening Services
You are responsible for the full payment of your screening services. Northeast Georgia Heart Center will collect this payment from you on the day of your screening. The screening cannot be billed to your insurance company or another third-party payor because it is not ordered by a physician. Even if you require follow up medical care because of a condition detected during your screening, the screening cannot be billed to your insurance company or another third-party payor and you remain fully responsible for the payment.  Self Referral and Release Form