Cardiovascular Services



Specializing Institutions

Cardiovascular medicine focuses on the treatment of acquired diseases affecting the heart and the great vessels. Conditions affecting the heart include coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, heart failure and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases claim approximately 17.1 million lives each year. Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular risks are particularly higher for women after menopause. Prevention programs in which physicians, physical therapists, nurses and exercise consultants work together often help patients take control of their health. The healthcare industry has been making strides in the past two decades researching and creating innovative and comprehensive treatment, prevention and detection options for patients with complex diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and circulatory system.

Cardiovascular surgery is surgery performed on the heart, the aorta and other vessels. Procedures range from Open Heart Surgery to minimally invasive procedures performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, an advanced technology that enables surgeons to perform delicate operations with the least intrusion to the patient and is available at the South Texas Medical Center.

Non-invasive cardiac monitoring includes Holter Monitoring, also known as Ambulatory EKG or Ambulatory ECG. The Holter Monitor is portable and allows for continuous heart monitoring without interrupting the patient’s daily activities. Invasive cardiac monitoring includes Cardiac Electrophysiology, a study that requires catheterization to record spontaneous cardiac activity and cardiac responses to programmed electrical stimulation. Cardiac catheterization is common and can be used to perform a number of procedures including angioplasty, PCI, angiography, balloon septostomy and Electrophysiology studies. Both non-invasive and invasive cardiac procedures are performed at the South Texas Medical Center.

Cardiac Implantations, such as Permanent Pacemaker Implantations, or pacemakers, are used to regulate cardiac rhythm through electrical impulses. These implantations help maintain an adequate heart rate for patients struggling with low heart rate or a block in their heart’s electrical conduction. Patients can get treated for irregular heart rate and get cardiac implantations at several institutions at the South Texas Medical Center.

Another device used to detect irregular cardiac activity, and also offered at the South Texas Medical Center, is the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator or ICD. This implantable battery-powered electrical impulse generator helps patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death resulting from ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

Cardiovascular Articles