Tests & Procedures

CT Head

A CT head scan is performed to to take an image of the brain and/or sinuses and facial bones. This scan is commonly done to aid in the diagnoses of headaches, evaluate hearing problems, evaluate facial fractures/injuries, aid in facial reconstruction surgery planning, or to diagnose stroke or cancers.

Usually no preparation is needed. You may be asked to remove jewelry, dental devices, and glasses.

This exam is conducted by a Radiologic Technologist specially trained in CT. You will be asked to lie very still, and you will feel the table move in and out of the machine. The exam usually lasts only a few minutes.

Your scan will be read by a Radiologist and a written report will be sent to your physician, who will contact you with results.


MRI is a powerful electro-magnet that uses the magnet in conjunction with radio waves to image the human body.

Please ask your exam scheduler, as preparation varies by body part to be imaged. Be sure to let them know if you have claustrophobia, diabetes, kidney disease or implanted devices.


Transthoracic echocardiogram is a test to check for problems inside and around your heart. It’s often called an echocardiogram or an ECHO.

Echocardiograms show what’s happening, right now, in your heart. Harmless ultrasound waves are sent into the heart through the chest wall and are reflected back. The machine uses this information to create the images that you’ll see on the screen. The images show your heart squeezing and relaxing, and your valves opening and closing in rhythm with your heartbeat.

An echocardiogram is performed to evaluate the valves and chambers of the heart in a noninvasive manner. Doctors may suggest an echocardiogram if they suspect problems with your heart’s valves or chambers.

Echocardiograms can uncover a wide range of abnormalities—some minor and others serious. Or they can show that the heart’s function is normal despite whatever concerns prompted the test. The test also evaluates the heart’s pumping efficiency.

After disrobing from the waist up and putting on a gown, you’ll recline on an exam bed. Three electrodes will be attached to your chest for an electrocardiogram (ECG) at the same time. The ECG helps with the interpretation of the echocardiogram. A cardiac sonographer will perform your test. The sonographer will spread a small amount of special ultrasound gel on your chest and press a device, called a transducer, firmly against your skin. You’ll be asked to roll over onto your left side and maybe breathe in a certain way.

Some patients may experience discomfort from the pressure of the transducer on the chest or abdomen. However, this discomfort is usually mild and lasts only a short time. You should tell the sonographer if you become uncomfortable during the test.

The lights will be dim so the sonographer can see your heart’s image on the screen more clearly. You will be able to see the screen and watch the images, which will be in both black-and-white and color formats. The Doppler echocardiogram uses colors to indicate the speed and direction of your blood as it flows through the heart and can detect leaking or narrowed heart valves. The ultrasound waves are beyond the range of normal hearing.

However, you may hear a pulsing “whoosh” sound. This is the machine’s approximation of blood flowing past the structures in your heart. If your lungs or ribs obscure the view, the sonographer might suggest injection of a small
amount of an intravenous contrast agent—it’s called Definity—to improve the images.

Most echocardiograms take less than half an hour. You will be able to return to your room or go home right after the test. There are no side effects from the diagnostic ultrasound.

A specially trained cardiologist will interpret the images. The final report will be sent to your doctor. This may take at least a day.

Carotid Duplex Exam

A Carotid Duplex Exam is a test to check the carotid arteries for narrowing or blockage. Ultrasound is used to get pictures of the arteries and a Doppler signal is used to evaluate the velocity of the blood through the arteries.

The carotid arteries are a pair of arteries situated on either side of the neck which carry blood to the head and share in the circulation of blood to the brain. This test may be ordered because of dizziness, syncope, vision problems, numbness in limbs or if the doctor heard a noise through a stethoscope called a bruit.

During the test, you will be asked to lay flat on the bed with your head turned to the side. The lights will need to be dim so the screen on the ultrasound machine can be seen properly. The sonographer will use a probe, called a transducer, with a small amount of gel on your neck in the area of your carotid arteries. Ultrasound images will appear on the screen, and you may hear a pulsating sound during the test. The test takes approximately 30 minutes.

A vascular physician will interpret the test and a final report will be made available to your physician.

Gastrostomy Tube (G-tube or GJ-tube)

Gastrostomy tube placement is a procedure in which a tube is placed through the abdominal wall into the stomach. A gastrojejunostomy tube is placed through the abdominal wall into the stomach and the tip is advanced into the small bowel. If necessary to empty the stomach and feed through the small bowel, a tube with two ports can be inserted. Any of these tubes provide a route for nutrition or medication when a patient is unable to feed adequately by mouth.

Most patients are admitted through the Admissions and Testing Unit about two hours prior to test time. After you check in, Admissions and Testing staff will prep you for your exam, including checking vital signs, taking any needed laboratory tests, and starting an IV if necessary. This exam requires an empty stomach, and an NG (naso-gastric) tube may be ordered with suction to clear the contents of the stomach.

The exam is conducted by an Interventional Radiologist, a specially trained Angiographic Radiology Technologist and an RN. You will lie on the exam table, and an RN will place you on a monitor and administer sedatives.
The area where the tube will be inserted will be shaved and sterilely cleaned and draped.

The Radiologist will inject air into the stomach through the existing NG tube so that it can be better visualized by X-rays. A numbing medication will be injected to numb the area of the abdomen. An incision will be made and the tube will be inserted through the abdominal wall into the stomach. The tube is then secured into position by a balloon inflated within the stomach. T-fasteners are inserted temporarily to anchor the stomach wall against the abdominal wall. The procedure generally takes 45-90 minutes.