Cardio-Pulmonary Services


The Cardio-Pulmonary Services Division of Athol Hospital assists in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support of patients with cardio-pulmonary and neurological system disorders, with an emphasis on prevention through education.

The Cardio-Pulmonary Department provides non-invasive pulmonary and cardiac diagnostic testing as well as treatment for acute and chronic lung disorders. Services are provided by licensed professionals, 24 hours a day 7 days per week, for all age groups.

Nuclear Medicine 

Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of a variety of diseases, including many types of heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages.

A Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress Test involves the injection of a small about of Radioactive Material that is attracted to the Heart. A Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress Test is a two part exam. The first part involves a small needle being placed in the arm (the needle remains in the arm for the entire test).  A small about of radioactive material is injected and a series of pictures of the heart "at rest" are taken. The second part includes a Stress Test (generally walking on a Treadmill). Under the supervision and direction of a Cardiologist a Stress Test is started.  During the Stress Test your heart is monitored and at a specific time a Radioactive Material is injected.  A series of pictures are then taken while your heart is "stressed"). The Cardiologists then compares the Rest and Stress Scans to determine how the heart functions.  The Scan is performed by a Registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist and read by Heywood Healthcare's Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor. 

Full Nuclear Medicine Services are offered through Heywood Healthcare at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. Please call the Athol/ Heywood Central Scheduling Department at (978) 630-5070 to schedule any Nuclear Medicine Scans.


An echocardiogram, often referred to cardiac echo or simply an echo is an ultrasound of the heart. Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart, pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An Echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function. The use of Stress Echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.Not only can an echocardiogram create ultrasound images of heart structures, but it can also produce accurate assessment of the blood flowing through the heart. This allows assessment of both normal and abnormal blood flow through the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves and to estimate how well the valves open.Echocardiography is performed by Registered Cardiac Technologists and read by Athol Hospital Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor.

Stress Echocradiogram

A Stress Echocardiogram, also known as a stress echo, utilizes ultrasound imaging of the heart to assess the wall motion in response to physical stress. First, images of the heart are taken "at rest" to acquire a baseline of the patient's wall motion at a resting heart rate. The patient then walks on a treadmill or utilizes another exercise modality to increase the heart rate to their target heart rate. Finally, images of the heart are taken "at stress" to assess wall motion at the peak heart rate. A stress echo assesses wall motion of the heart and Ischemia (absence of blood to an area of the heart). A Stress Echocardiogram is also a noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities). The imaging of a Stress Echocardiogram is performed by a Registered Cardiac Technologists.  The Stress Test is performed and read by Athol Hospital's Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor.