Some heart issues are minor and may be treated with medications and/or lifestyle changes, while others may be more serious. Prior to any treatment, there are a number of diagnostic tests available to physicians to help pinpoint your heart issue. They can include a cardiac stress test, an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (ECHO), or coronary CT scan. A cardiac catheterization may also be performed to check for blockages in your arteries.
Cardiac catheterization is a method doctors use to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease. During cardiac catheterization, a catheter, is threaded through a large blood vessel in the leg or arm and into the heart. If a blockage is detected, a balloon (angioplasty) or stent may be placed through the catheter to open a blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart.
San Antonio Regional Hospital has been awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI by the American College of Cardiology. Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI (also known as coronary angioplasty) available 24/7, every day of the year.
While a number of non-surgical and interventional treatments are now available to patients, depending on the severity of your cardiac diagnosis, cardiovascular surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures can include coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), surgery to correct congenital heart issues, and surgical repair or replacement of damaged heart valves.
If left untreated, a diseased heart valve can be very serious, even lethal. The most common heart valve diseases are regurgitation (failure of the valve to close properly) and stenosis (the valve’s opening becomes narrowed) . In some cases, heart valves can be repaired surgically. Severe valve damage, however, requires surgical replacement of the valve. Valve replacement is most often used to treat aortic valves and severely damaged mitral valves. More than one valve may be damaged in the heart, so patients may need more than one repair or replacement. TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) is a less invasive procedure used for treating severe aortic stenosis. Physicians can replace the diseased aortic valve through a catheter-based system rather than having the patient undergo the risks of traditional open heart surgery. TAVR has opened new possibilities as more patients are now candidates for the TAVR procedure.