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Programs and services

The Nasseff Heart Center excels in cardiac care and services. Together with our partner, Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute  we provide a full continuum of care services.

United Hospital's cardiovascular rehabilitation program offers monitored rehabilitation exercise in a dedicated unit in the hospital. The staff includes a nurse, occupational therapist and exercise physiologist and has expertise in exercise prescription and electrocardiogram interpretation.

Patients can continue their rehabilitation in the rehabilitation unit after they leave the hospital, making it easier for patients to continue with a therapy program.

Rehabilitation programs include:

  • patient/family education and support
  • monitored exercise programs
  • behavior modification and counseling
  • stress management
  • tobacco intervention
  • nutrition counseling

At the catheterization lab, procedures like heart catheterization, angiograms and intracoronary ultrasounds are performed to get a more in-depth look at how your heart functions.

The lab uses the latest technology, providing improved imaging and faster, more accurate results. The catheterization laboratory is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Echocardiograms use ultrasound waves to look for any structural heart abnormalities. The benefits of digital echocardiography conducted at the Nasseff Heart Center include:

  • improved image quality
  • viewing/reading capability in the intensive care unit
  • improved reading efficiency
  • standardized and faster reporting
  • capability for remote reading
  • eliminates need for videotape
  • reduced storage space

Electrophysiology studies are conducted to determine appropriate therapy for irregular heart rhythms, including some that may be life threatening (ablation, device implant or medical treatment). Both diagnostic and therapeutic services are conducted in the hospital.

The Jesse E. Edwards Registry serves as a vital repository of knowledge that is regularly utilized by practicing cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and other physicians worldwide, particularly those dealing with rare or unusual cases.

The Level One Cardiac program works to eliminate delays in getting heart attack patients into the cardiac catheterization laboratory for a life-saving intervention that can reduce heart muscle damage and help save their life.

The Milton M. Hurwitz ExerCare Fitness Center, a program of United Hospital, is the only medical fitness center in the St. Paul allowing its member to exercise within a medically supervised environment with state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Holter Monitor-24 hrs
This small monitor is attached to 5 stickers placed on your chest. It records your heart rhythm (EKG) during a 24 hour period of time. You will be asked to keep a journal of your symptoms. 

Cardiac event monitor (longer-termed)
This small monitor is attached to 5 stickers placed on your chest. After the designated term, return the monitor and a report will be sent to you doctor.

The Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab assists in the diagnosis and care of patients with breathing problems.

United Hospital's Sleep Center uses sophisticated sleep disorder diagnostic tools and expert sleep consultations to identify and treat sleep problems.

How to Prepare for a Stress Test

  • Do not eat or drink anything besides water for 3 hours before the test
  • Take all medications as directed by your doctor.
  • If you have diabetes, follow these medication directions unless your doctor tells you otherwise:
  • Morning appointment. If you take medicines by mouth to lower your blood glucose, bring them with you to take after the stress test is done. If you take insulin, you may take half of your morning dose. 
    Afternoon appointment. Take your morning diabetes medicine as directed with a small meal at least three hours before your appointment. If you use a glucometer, bring it with you if you need to check your blood glucose. 
  • Bring a list of you current medicines to your appointment. Include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbals. Include the name of the medicine, how much you take, and the last time you took the medicine.
  • Do not have any caffeine after 7 p.m. the night before the test. This includes caffeinated or decaffeinated beverages (such as coffee, tea, or soda), chocolate, and medicines that contain caffeine (such as Anacin®, Excedrin®and NoDoz®).
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and walking shoes.
  • Do not use lotion on your chest the morning of your test.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or think you may be pregnant.

Treadmill Stress Test (45-60 minutes)
During the treadmill stress test, staff will monitor your heart rhythm (EKG), blood pressure, and heart rate. You will begin walking up a hill on the treadmill. It will gradually increase. The length of the test will depend on your symptoms and endurance. During the test, you will be asked to report any symptoms.

Echocardiogram (Ultrasound) Imaging Tests Treadmill Stress Echocardiogram (60 minutes). During the treadmill stress echocardiogram, staff will monitor your heart rhythm (EKG), blood pressure, and heart rate. A technician will obtain ultrasound images of your heart while you lie on your left side on an exam table. After resting ultrasound/echo images, you will start the exercise portion of the test. You will begin walking up a hill on the treadmill. It will gradually increase. The length of the test will depend on your symptoms and endurance. During the test you will be asked to report any symptoms. After you stop exercising, you will immediately lie on your left side and more images will be taken of your heart.

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram (90 minutes). During the dobutamine stress echocardiogram, staff will monitor your heart rhythm (EKG), blood pressure, and heart rate. During the stress portion of the test you will be laying down on your left side. You will have an IV inserted in your arm. The medicine called dobutamine will be administered gradually during the test. It will increase your heart rate over time. Images will be taken at four different times: at rest, at a sub max heart rate, at a target heart rate (based on your age), and during recovery. During the test you will be asked to report any symptoms.

Nuclear Imaging Stress Tests
Nuclear – Treadmill Stress Test (3-4 hours). This test is used to evaluate the blood flow to your heart at both rest and stress. The test also evaluates how efficiently your heart is working. You will have an IV inserted in your arm. A small amount of a radioactive tracer will be injected at rest and images will be taken approximately 45 minutes later with a special camera. Next, you will have the exercise portion of the test. You will be walking up a hill on the treadmill. Staff monitors your heart rhythm (ECG), blood pressure, and heart rate. You will be asked to report any symptoms. Once you reach an adequate level of stress, a second injection of the radioactive tracer will be given. After you complete the stress test, a second set of images will be taken.

Nuclear – Pharmacologic (Medicine) Stress Test (3-4 hours)Lexiscan. This test is used to evaluate the blood flow to your heart at both rest and stress. The test also evaluates how efficiently your heart is working. You will have an IV inserted in your arm. A small amount of a radioactive tracer will be injected at rest and images will be taken approximately 45 minutes later with a special camera. Next you will have the stress portion of the test. Staff monitors your heart rhythm (ECG) and blood pressure while you are given a medicine called Lexiscan. The medicine will dilate the blood vessels and is done in place of a treadmill stress. A second injection of the radioactive tracer will be given after the medicine. During the test you will be asked to report any symptoms you may be feeling. Approximately one hour after you complete the stress test, a second set of images will be taken.

Dobutamine. This test is used to evaluate the blood flow to your heart at both rest and stress. The test also evaluates how efficiently your heart is working. You will have an IV inserted in your arm. A small amount of a radioactive tracer will be injected at rest and images will be taken approximately 45 minutes later with a special camera. Next, you will have the stress portion of the test. Staff monitors your heart rhythm (ECG), blood pressure, and heart rate while gradually administering a medicine called Dobutamine. It will increase your heart rate over time and is done in place of a treadmill stress. A second injection of the radioactive tracer will be given. During the test you will be asked to report any symptoms you may be feeling. Approximately 1 hour after you complete the stress test, a second set of images will be done.