Diagnosis & Screening
Find a full spectrum of innovative techniques and advanced technologies at UNC Medical Center, a leading academic medical center, for all your heart and vascular diagnostic and screening needs, including:
- Advanced hemodynamic monitoring – Measures blood pressures and flow within the heart; our advanced technology allows us to better identify people who can be treated with a less-invasive stent placement instead of coronary bypass surgery
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test – Measures blood pressure at your ankle and in your arm to check for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of the legs
- Cardiac biopsy
- Cardiac imaging tests, such as:
- Cardiac computed tomography (CT)
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Cardiac computed tomography angiogram (CTA)
- Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)
- Contrast echocardiogram
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
- Intracardiac echocardiogram (ICE)
- Exercise stress echocardiogram
- Dobutamine stress echocardiogram
- Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
- Coronary calcium scoring – Uses a CT scan to find calcium in the arteries, which indicates plaque in the arterial wall; the score from the scan predicts the likelihood of a heart attack and helps your doctor prescribe preventive treatments and medications
- Cardiac stress test – Tracks blood flow through your heart during exercise on a treadmill, or with a drug to mimic exercise, to make your heart work hard and beat fast to better detect heart problems that may not be obvious at rest; your doctor will examine blood flow using various types of imaging technologies
- Duplex ultrasound – Uses two forms of ultrasound together to show how blood flows through your vessels and measures the speed of the blood flow
- Nuclear cardiology imaging tests such as:
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- Myocardial perfusion imaging (nuclear stress test)
- PET rubidium study
- Multiple gated acquisition (MUGA) scan
- Vasodilator challenges – Uses medication to dilate your arteries and veins to measure blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs; measurements help your doctor predict how you will respond to medications used for treating pulmonary hypertension
Advanced Technology & Facilities
UNC Medical Center offers the most advanced diagnostic technologies available, with skilled specialists to interpret tests, explain the results, and map out treatment strategies.
As a leader in IVUS technology, UNC Medical Center was one of the first academic medical centers in the U.S. to install the now widely used ultrasound technology. UNC Medical Center cardiologists use IVUS technology in research to find innovative new treatment or prevention methods for coronary artery atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
You’ll find our cardiac ultrasound laboratories at UNC Medical Center and at the Heart Center at Meadowmont in Chapel Hill. Both labs provide a full range of anatomic and hemodynamic (blood flow) imaging techniques to deliver a complete picture of your cardiovascular health.
Get Screened to Find Vascular Disease Early
Vascular disease is among the leading causes of death in the United States. However, people with a vascular condition rarely show symptoms until they experience a catastrophic event, such as a stroke or aneurysm rupture.
You may benefit from preventive screening if you’re 55 or older and have a cardiovascular risk factor, such as a history of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia or known cardiovascular disease, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery. These screenings normally use noninvasive ultrasound technology.
Free Screenings from Medicare
You may be eligible for a free one-time aortic aneurysm screening as part of your Welcome to Medicare physical, or by private insurers of those over age 50 with familial risk. You must get a referral for the test from your doctor.
Medicare Part B covers a variety of other preventive and screening services, including cardiovascular disease screenings—blood tests for cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels—every five years.
Get an Individualized Treatment Plan
Once you have your diagnosis, you’ll work with our team to create an effective treatment plan tailored to you. Your plan could include lifestyle changes, medications, interventional cardiology procedures, cardiac surgery or other measures.