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Women's Heart Center at AGH

The Women’s Heart Center at Allegheny General Hospital is a resource unlike any other in the Pittsburgh area. Our experienced cardiovascular doctors focus on helping you gain a greater awareness of heart disease and teaching you the proper preventative measures. We use the latest technology and tools to diagnose any potential problems and provide you with a comprehensive, gender-specific action plan for preventing and treating heart disease.

Early diagnosis of heart disease is important because two-thirds of sudden deaths occur in women without a history of heart disease. However, diagnosing cardiovascular disease in women presents a greater challenge than diagnosing men. The symptoms of heart attack differ between men and women, with women more often complaining of vague discomfort, shortness of breath or nausea rather than crushing chest pain.

At the Women’s Heart Center, your doctor conducts a comprehensive medical evaluation to assess your heart health. If any indicators are found, your doctor may conduct additional testing to confirm a diagnosis or to further investigate potential problems.

Following your assessment, your doctor provides you with a detailed plan, tailored to your specific risks and needs. The plan may include prevention, management and treatment recommendations.

Our heart assessment services include:
 


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A complete physical examination and evaluation of your medical history


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Overall assessment of your risk for heart disease through blood work and noninvasive testing


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Evaluation of your family’s medical history


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Evaluation of chest pain with coronary angiography


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Screening for high blood pressure


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Screening for high cholesterol


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Screening for diabetes


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Screening for metabolic syndrome


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Assessment of any menopause-related risks


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Calculating your body mass index (BMI)


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Framingham Risk Score assessment, which estimates your 10-year risk of developing heart disease

  • Ankle Brachial Index assessment, which compares the blood pressure in your lower legs with your lower arms to find any indicators of blocked arteries 

 

Our prevention and management programs include:


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Treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension)


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Dietary and nutrition counseling


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Physical activity prescription


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Stress management guidance


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Smoking cessation program


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Cholesterol management


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Diabetes education


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Hormone replacement guidance

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Referrals to appropriate heart specialist to address any diagnosis 

 
 
Advanced diagnostics 

At the Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny General, we have highly advanced imaging technology that gives us exceptional views of your heart. Our heart doctors use these thorough and detailed images to accurately uncover the cause of even the most complex heart conditions.

Types of cardiac imaging include:

 

Holter monitor is a portable machine that evaluates your heart continuously for 24 hours or more. Like an ECG, electrodes are placed on certain locations of your skin and lead wires feed information about your heart’s electrical activity back to the device. You wear the monitor under your clothing while going about your regular daily activities. A button is also on the device that you can push if any symptoms are felt throughout the testing.

 

Stress test puts you through a workout because some symptoms of coronary artery disease are triggered by exercise. It involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while your heart activity is monitored.

 

Echocardiogram is a procedure that uses sound waves to obtain real-time images of your heart as its functioning. The sound waves are directed at your chest using a wand-like tool called a transducer that provides video images of your heart in motion on a screen. We provide various types of echocardiogram, including transesophageal, 3-D, stress, and tissue Doppler imaging.

 

Transesophageal echocardiogram is a procedure that uses sound waves to obtain real-time images of your heart as its functioning. A flexible tube containing a transducer is guided into your throat and down your esophagus. The sound waves from the transducer provide video images of your heart in motion on a screen.

 

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to evaluate your heart by placing small, sticky patches called electrodes on your skin in certain locations, like the chest, arms and legs. The electrodes are connected to an ECG machine by lead wires, and your heart’s electrical activity is measured and displayed on a monitor or printed for a doctor’s evaluation.

 

Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a painless test that uses no radiation and provides physicians with extremely detailed, 3-D still and moving pictures of your heart’s structure and functions. Viewing your heart in motion, allows our doctors to clearly see the chambers, valves and blood vessels and diagnose any potential medical conditions. You lie on a table and are guided inside a large tube while magnets inside the tube pass around your body and obtain images.

 

Cardiac PET is a painless test shows any areas of reduced blood flow from any of the arteries that feed your heart. Cardiac PET (positron emission tomography) is a highly advanced tool that rapidly and accurately provides doctors with an assessment of your heart function and potential problems. We complete PET scans in one hour and results are available the same day.

 

CT coronary angiogram is a CT (computerized tomography) test that uses X-ray imaging to view inside your heart’s blood vessels. It involves injecting a radioactive dye into your bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line. The dye is visible on a special scanner machine and shows images of your blood vessels. The machine then takes several detailed pictures, called angiograms, of the blood vessels and provides doctors with evidence of any heart conditions.

 

Nuclear imaging uses X-ray imaging to trace blood as it flows through the muscle or walls of your heart. It helps doctors to assess your heart function and determine whether more investigation is needed. Nuclear imaging involves injecting a radioactive dye into your bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line. The dye is visible on a special scanner machine and shows images of your heart muscle. Inadequate blood flow to your heart displays on the image as a light spot because not as much of the dye is reaching there.

We offer these types of nuclear imaging:

SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) test produces sharp, accurate images of your heart in just two minutes. It involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material into your vein through an intravenous (IV) line. The dye is visible on a special monitor and a specialized camera produces images. The test can identify blocked arteries, diagnose or predict a heart attack, or assess you following surgery.

 

Myocardial viability testing helps doctors determine which treatment, such as angioplasty, bypass surgery, or transplant, is best for a heart failure patient.

 

Multiple gated acquisition testing assists a doctor with determining the heart's pumping capacity by measuring the percentage of blood that's pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat. This is known as the “ejection fraction,” and is one of the most significant predictors of a person’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest. 

 

Call 1-877-97-HEART for an appointment.