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St. Francis Heart Valve Center combines the talents of some of the most skilled physicians specializing in treatment of heart valve disease. During your visit to the Valve Center, the cardiologist and the surgeon are together with you, ensuring a thorough understanding of your valve condition. Efficient communication and seamless care create the best opportunity for a lifetime of good health.

Valve disease can progress without symptoms and a murmur may be the only indication of a problem. Valve Center physicians evaluate the extent of valve disease and the best form of treatment using a variety of advanced diagnostic tests. Most often, this involves use of sound waves (echocardiography) to image the heart and its valves.

Your physician may also order the following additional diagnostic tests:

  • Echocardiogram (echo):  An "echo" is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. A sound-wave transducer wand is placed on the surface of the chest. High frequency sound-waves are used to provide pictures of the heart's valves and chambers and to look at the pumping action of the heart. Echo is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to detect changes in the blood flow across the heart valves and pressures within the chambers. An echocardiogram can be performed at rest or during exercise.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (transesophageal echo or TEE):  TEE is similar to a Doppler echo. During a TEE, a sound-wave transducer is placed on the end of a special tube (called an endoscope) and passed into the mouth and down the esophagus (food pipe). This allows doctors to get a closer look at the valves, the heart chambers and the back of the heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath or angiogram):  A catheter (inserted into your arm or leg) is guided to your heart, contrast dye is injected and x-ray movies of you coronary arteries, heart chambers, and heart valves are taken.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG):  The electrical activity of the heart is recorded on graph paper, using small electrode patches attached to the skin that transmit information to a computer.

Call 1-877-78-VALVE (82583) to schedule an evaluation with our world-renowned leaders at the St. Francis Heart Valve Center.