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Testing & Procedures

Surgical Options

Aspirus Heart & Vascular offers a broad range of cardiac procedures, testing and surgical options. You benefit from an individualized approach to heart care, including diagnosis, intervention and rehabilitation.

For more information on our Heart Surgery Second Opinion program or heart and lung surgical options, visit the Heart & Lung Surgery page.

Non-surgical Treatment

Often, heart problems can be treated without surgery, and Aspirus Heart & Vascular offers a broad range of cardiac procedures, some available nowhere else in Wisconsin.

Available treatment options vary by location and the majority of advanced procedures are performed at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. Click below for more information on some of the procedures Aspirus offers:

Angioplasty and stents

Angioplasty is the gold standard for treating blockages. During the procedure, a cardiologist uses a thin wire catheter to access a diseased vessel to then open the blockage. In some cases, a tiny metal coil called a stent is expanded inside the blocked vessel and left in place to keep it from re-narrowing.

CardioMEMS for Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. When this occurs, blood pressure eventually increases leading to congestive symptoms and commonly to shortness of breath. Significant HF progression over a period of days often leads to hospitalization.

heart failure deviceAspirus offers a new technology to better manage heart failure called The CardioMEMS™ Heart Failure System. It is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring solution that provides vital real-time measurements from inside a person’s body. These measurements, such as pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate, allow physicians to more effectively manage patients with heart failure and drastically reduce the likelihood of hospital readmissions. In trials, the use of CardioMEMS reduced hospital admissions for heart failure patients by 37 percent.

CardioMEMS is a small sensor that is permanently implanted into the pulmonary artery via a minimally-invasive catheter procedure. Once in place, it provides real-time, on-demand access to data like pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate. A wireless electronics system is used to transmit the data to a secure website, which is then read remotely in the doctor’s office. With access to this data, physicians can make time-sensitive treatment decisions that can help keep patients out of the hospital.

Aspirus Heart & Vascular is the first to provide this innovate treatment to patients in Wisconsin.

CTO - Coronary Artery Chronic Total Occlusion

In CTOs the coronary artery blockage is too hard to be treated with traditional angioplasty. Using an advanced non-surgical technique, a catheter is inserted to reach the diseased coronary artery to restore blood flow. This minimally invasive approach allows patients to recover faster and get back to regular life activities.

Restoring blood flow to a vessel previously blocked with a CTO may significantly improve your quality of life by providing symptom relief and improved heart function and may help you avoid coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

If you have been diagnosed CTO and have not been offered any treatment options call Aspirus Cardiology at 800-441-4013 for a case evaluation by an interventional cardiologist.

Transradial Angioplasty

This procedure utilizes right radial artery, located in the wrist, as an entry point for catheterizations. Advantages of this technique include:

  • The radial artery is close to the skin surface, making the needle puncture straight-forward.
  • li>After the procedure, a short compression of the radial artery can stop the bleeding.
  • Patients leave the catheterization lab and are able to sit up and walk almost immediately.

Electrophysiology - Heart Rhythm Treatment

Irregular heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, affect millions of Americans. Some arrhythmias require no treatment or can be effectively managed with lifestyle changes and medications, some require additional treatment.

At Aspirus Heart & Vascular, we offer pacemakers, which are implanted into the patient's heart or upper chest to provide a reliable heartbeat when the heart's own rhythm is too fast, too slow or irregular. Catheter ablation is another non-surgical procedure done by an Electrophysiologist (EP doctor) to ablate (scar) part of an abnormal electrical pathway of the heart that is causing the heart rhythm problem.

LDL-Apheresis

A method of reducing low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol,” levels in people unable to do so with diet and medication. The treatment is performed as often as once a week and usually takes three hours to complete.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP)

A noninvasive therapy for certain patients with chronic chest pain. With the patient lying on a bed, compression cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are wrapped around the calves, thighs and lower abdomen. Treatment usually lasts an hour per day, five days per week, for seven weeks.

PFO Closure

A treatment for people with a hole in the wall between the atria, or upper chambers of the heart. This hole, called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), increases risk for heart attack and stroke. By placing threading a special catheter into the heart, a cardiologist can place a small umbrella-like closure device in the hole, sealing it. Over time, heart tissue grows over the implant, becoming part of the heart.

Diagnostic Testing

Identifying the problem early.

Cardiovascular disease takes many forms. Because early diagnosis vastly improves your chances of effective treatment and recovery, Aspirus Heart & Vascular provides a complete array of diagnostic tests, including leading technologies that can save lives.

Stress Tests

Stress tests document how the heart functions under a workload, so doctors can search for indications of blockage or other problems. Stress tests can be performed with leading ultrasound machines or nuclear imaging equipment to provide the most accurate results.

CT scans

Using computed tomography, or CT, imaging technology, our experts can often identify disease in the heart and elsewhere in the vascular system. Tests using this modality include:

  • Calcium Scoring
  • CT Angiography

Ultrasound images

Echocardiography uses ultrasound to examine heart function and anatomy. This is done non-invasively, by placing a probe on your chest. These tests can find clots, evaluate valvular function, and locate abnormalities.

Monitoring Heart Rhythms

People who have irregular heart rhythms can be difficult to diagnose, especially if these “arrhythmias” are unpredictable. There are many hospital-based or portable tests to monitor heart rhythms and rates during everyday activities. These are worn for various lengths of time. Here are some examples:

  • T-wave Alternans
  • King of Hearts
  • Reveal
  • Holter Monitor
  • Ambulatory Blood Pressure

Catheterization

Sometimes doctors will do a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, during which a small catheter, or hollow tube, is guided through a vessel into the heart or surrounding coronary arteries. A colorless, liquid "dye" is injected through the catheter, and shows narrowing in the arteries, outside heart size, inside chamber size, pumping ability of the heart, ability of the valves to open and close, as well as a measurement of the pressures within the heart.

Catheterization often serves as the basis for future interventions, or for planning purposes.

Limb Preservation Program

The Limb Preservation Program of Aspirus Heart & Vascular specializes in helping treat wounds of patients who are at high risk of amputation and diminished leg and toe function.

Do not ignore the symptoms.
With appropriate well-timed treatment, many amputations can be prevented. Waiting to see if the condition will resolve can waste valuable time, as wounds are healed best when they are new. The most effective treatment starts right away!

Act quickly if you experience these symptoms:

  • Sudden leg pain
  • Sudden or long lasting swelling of legs
  • Cold feet and toes
  • Lower leg skin discoloration
  • Non-healing leg, foot or toe sores

The Limb Preservation Program utilizes the latest technologies and treatment approaches to help manage the most complex cases. You are provided the highest quality of care and a personalized treatment plan brought to you by a coordinated team of wound care, podiatry and vascular surgical experts.

  • Expert diagnostic tools to detect arterial disease determine and categorize the severity of the condition
  • Utilization of state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical techniques to restore blood flow to the legs and improve arterial circulation
  • Access to hyperbaric treatment that can radically help promote healing and prevent infection

Call 1-800-847-LIMB (5462)

You will speak with a nurse who will complete an assessment and assist you in appointment scheduling. You can expect your first appointment within 5 days of calling.