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At Northside Cardiology, we feel it’s important to put your mind at ease. That’s why we developed this list of the most commonly asked patient questions. We believe education is the first step in prevention. If you have other questions, be sure to write them down and bring them to your appointment.

How is my chest pain evaluated?
A complete history and focused physical exam are the first steps in evaluating someone’s chest discomfort. Testing may include an exercise stress test, exercise nuclear or echocardiographic imaging, or cardiac catheterization. All non-invasive procedures can be performed in our office. Patients who cannot undergo treadmill exercise can have a pharmacologic stress test, which involves infusion of medicine through a vein.

I have palpitations. What do they mean?
Palpitations, or a sensation of extra beats in the chest, typically can be evaluated by a history and physical exam as well as an electrocardiogram (EKG). If further testing is needed, a 24 hour EKG monitor (Holter monitoring) or an event recorder (loop recording of symptomatic rhythms), can be performed at our office. Arrhythmia management can involve medical therapy, invasive electraphysiology study or a pacemaker.

What is angioplasty or PTCA?
Angioplasty is an invasive catheter-based therapy whereby balloon inflation can reduce a severe symptomatic blockage in the arteries supplying the heart. Sometimes a small metal scaffold, called a stent, is deployed at the site to keep the vessel open. Other therapies include removing plaque with a rotablator, laser or directional atherectomy device. Radiation is often used to prevent re-growth of scarring after angioplasty or stenting for re-stenosis. These therapies decrease symptoms of chest pain (angina) by avoiding open-heart bypass surgery.

What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?
CAD is a disease of the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and nourishment. Plaque build up in the vessel wall can cause symptoms of chest discomfort (angina). CAD is the substrate for heart attack. Plaque may erode from the vessel wall, and obstruct blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack.

Heart disease risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a family history of CAD and sedentary lifestyles. Limiting progression of CAD involves cessation of tobacco use, exercise, and a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Appropriate blood pressure control, diabetic treatment and cholesterol lowering, as well as the use of aspirin, are all important medical therapies in the prevention of the progression of CAD.

What is high blood pressure and how can I lower my risk for complications?
A series of elevated blood pressure recordings over time = high blood pressure or hypertension. It is called the ‘silent killer’ because there are usually no symptoms.

Arteries respond to this elevated pressure by increasing their wall thickness. Ultimately, the heart remodels in potentially harmful ways. Hypertension can damage the heart as well as other vital organs including the kidneys and brain.

Blood pressure management can require medical therapy or can be lowered without medicines by eating a healthy, low sodium diet, and by exercising daily, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight.

My legs hurt when I climb stairs or walk up a hill. What does this mean?
Any disorder affecting blood flow through arteries supplying the lower extremities can cause these symptoms. This is referred to as peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Treatment is aimed at improving the blood flow by removing or reducing the cause of the impaired circulation, and can involve medical therapy, angioplasty or surgery.

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  5670 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Suite 880 Atlanta, GA 30342    
Phone: 404-256-2525

Accredited Echocardiography
  3400 Old Milton Parkway Building C, Suite 360 Alpharetta, GA 30005 Phone: 404-256-2525  
1505 Northside Forsyth Drive, Suite 3600
Cumming, Georgia 30041
Our Dunwoody location is conveniently located on the north side of Atlanta at the highway intersection of I-285 and GA 400 in the The Tower at Northside adjacent to Northside Hospital.
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Our Alpharetta office is Located off of Old Milton PKWY

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8:30 am to 5:00 pm M-F
During normal office hours, our staff is available for appointment scheduling, clinical inquiries, and prescription refills. Please call 404-256-2525 to reach one of our staff members.


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