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Cardiovascular Care

  • Cardiovascular Care

Our Approach

We understand that cardiovascular disease may feel like a disruption to your life and the things you want to do. And the symptoms, such as chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, can feel downright worrisome.

At Augusta University Cardiovascular Center, we take a personalized approach to your care. Our expert heart specialists and vascular surgeons work with you to understand your unique situation so they can help you get back to living the life you love.

You have a lot of options for cardiovascular care, but you deserve only the best. As Augusta’s River Region’s only academic cardiovascular care program, we make that decision an easy one. We offer:

  • Expertise: Our interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists have earned national recognition in treating coronary artery disease and arrhythmias, respectively. Our advanced heart failure specialists and cardiothoracic surgeons also take on the cases that other centers consider too challenging to treat.
  • Advanced diagnostic testing: We are the only practice in Augusta’s River Region that offers cardiac MRI. This test provides our heart specialists with the information they need to help you make important care decisions.
  • Advanced treatments: We offer the latest vascular and heart disease treatments, such as brachytherapy, cardio-oncology, laser lead extraction and transcatheter aortic valve replacement. We also apply advanced techniques for certain procedures to allow you to go home the same day. Those procedures include ablations, implantation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators and stent placement, such as using the radial artery (wrist) approach.
  • Teamwork: Our heart specialists and vascular surgeons work together to diagnose and treat complex cardiovascular diseases. They gather through weekly board meetings and conferences to plan treatment for conditions, such as heart valve disease and pulmonary embolisms.
  • Collaboration: Our experts partner with other Augusta University Health specialists across multiple fields of medicine, as many other parts of the body affect how the heart functions. They work with specialists from areas, such as emergency medicine, nephrology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology and radiology.
  • Clinical trials: We’re working to identify new preventive approaches, medications and devices, such as stents, heart valves and pacemakers to treat cardiovascular diseases. We’re also exploring stem cell therapy to treat heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump enough blood through the body.
  • Our catheterization and electrophysiology labs are the first in Georgia and the only in the region to earn accreditation from the American College of Cardiology.

Our catheterization and electrophysiology labs are the first in Georgia and the only in the region to earn accreditation from the American College of Cardiology.

 

 

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Accreditation

Cath Lab Accreditation

The American College of Cardiology Accreditation services has recognized AU Medical Center for its demonstrated expertise and commitment to treating patients who come to the cardiac cath lab for care, including diagnostic catheterizations and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures. AUMC was awarded Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation with PCI in March, 2018 based on rigorous onsite evaluation of staff's ability to evaluate, diagnosis and treat patients who come to the cardiac cath lab.

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Accreditation

Electrophysiology Accreditation

After a systematic on-site review of policies and protocols, the American College of Cardiology once again recognized AU Medical Center for demonstrating expertise and commitment in treating patients in the Electrophysiology Lab in November, 2019.

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Accreditation

Chest Pain Center with PCI and Resuscitation

AU Medical Center was the first hospital in the region to become nationally accredited for their Chest Pain Center and in October, 2017, the American College of Cardiology accredited AUMC as the first in the region as a Chest Pain Center with PCI and Resuscitation. The ACC acknowledged the work that AUMC has done to meet all Chest Pain Center requirements as well as requirements to meet all post-cardiac arrest treatment. The ACC also acknowledged that AUMC has a “No Diversion Policy” for out of hospital cardiac arrest patients – meaning that the hospital will accept all patients in cardiac arrest.

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Accreditation

Echocardiography

Intersocietal Accreditation Commission has once again accredited all three echocardiography components: Adult transthoracic echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography and stress echocardiography. Accredited programs are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care.

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Accreditation

Cardiac Rehabilitation

In August, 2019, The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) has again recognized AU Medical Center by re-certifying that the Cardiac Rehab Department has successfully met all requirements and standards.

American Heart Association Awards

aha award 2020aha 2019 award

We treat all types of cardiovascular diseases, such as . Our teams of subspecialists are trained to diagnose and treat each condition within their specific area — getting you the precise care you need when you need it.

  • Aortic disease can cause the aorta to bulge or split, causing it to rupture. We treat all types of aortic disease, including aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.
  • Aortic aneurysm includes thoracic aortic aneurysm and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • Coronary artery disease develops when the blood vessels that deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart become hardened, narrowed or blocked. A build-up of cholesterol deposits called plaque usually causes this disease. We treat all types of coronary artery disease:
  • Obstructive coronary artery disease occurs when the vessels are severely narrowed or blocked.
  • Non-obstructive coronary artery disease occurs when the vessels are narrowed.
  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) occurs when the blood vessels are torn
  • Heart arrhythmias, or heart rhythm problems, occur when the electrical system that controls your heart’s rhythm doesn’t work properly. We treat all types of arrhythmia:
  • Tachycardia occurs when the heart beats too fast.
  • Bradycardia occurs when the heart beats too slowly.
  • Supraventricular arrhythmia occurs when the atria, or the heart’s upper chambers, beat too fast.
  • Ventricular arrhythmia occurs when the ventricles, or the heart’s lower chambers, beat too fast.
  • Bradyarrhythmia occurs when the heart beats too slowly usually as a result of an electrical problem in the heart.
  • Heart valve disease involves one or more of your heart’s four valves not working properly, disrupting blood flow through your heart to your body. We treat all types of heart valve disease:
  • Aortic valve disease involves the aortic valve, which regulates blood flow from the left ventricle, or main pumping chamber of your heart, to the aorta, the main artery to your body. Two types of aortic valve disease include aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation.
  • Mitral valve disease involves the mitral valve, which regulates blood flow from your lungs into the left ventricle. Three types of mitral valve disease include mitral valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation and mitral valve prolapse.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve disease occurs when the aortic valve has two flaps, which open and close to regulate blood flow, instead of three. Bicuspid aortic valve disease includes bicuspid aortic valve stenosis.
  • Tricuspid valve disease involves the tricuspid valve, whose role is to keep blood flowing from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Four types of tricuspid valve disease include tricuspid valve regurgitation, tricuspid valve stenosis, tricuspid atresia and Ebstein’s anomaly.

When it comes to your heart, time is valuable, so timely, accurate testing is important. We combine a full range of the latest diagnostic testing technology with our team’s expertise and dedication to getting to the bottom of your symptoms and concerns.

  • Imaging tests allow us to visualize the organs in the chest, such as the heart and lungs, and surrounding blood vessels to look for signs of cardiovascular disease. We offer all types of imaging tests:
  • Chest X-ray uses a small amount of radiation to produce images of the organs and structures in your chest, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels and chest bones.
  • Echocardiogram, or echo, uses soundwaves (ultrasound) to produce images of your heart.
  • Cardiac CT uses a small amount of radiation, and sometimes injected contrast dye, to produce multiple X-ray images of the heart and large blood vessels. These large vessels include the aorta, arteries and pulmonary veins. A computer then combines the images to give your doctor a cross-sectional view of the body so they can see inside organs and structures.
  • Cardiac MRI uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves to produce detailed images of your heart and blood vessels.
  • Stress tests allow doctors to understand how your heart responds to a higher-than-normal physical demand on the body, which makes it pump harder and faster. You’ll undergo this test in the safety of a cardiologist’s office and under their supervision. We offer all types of stress tests:
  • Exercise stress testing uses physical activity, usually treadmill walking or stationary bike riding, while your doctor monitors your heart rhythm using electrocardiogram.
  • Echocardiography stress testing is an exercise stress test during which your doctor uses soundwaves (ultrasound) to produce images of your heart. These images show how your heart responds both while you are resting and exercising.
  • Nuclear stress testing is an exercise stress test during which your doctor uses radioactive isotope to produce images of your heart. These images show how your heart responds both while you are resting and exercising.
  • Pharmacological stress testing can be used with echocardiography stress testing and nuclear stress testing for those who are unable to get their heart rate to a target level using exercise. It uses medications that make your heart beat harder and faster.

Other diagnostic tests and procedures

We also offer additional types of diagnostic tests and procedures:

  • Blood testing gives your doctor a glimpse into your heart health and helps them determine your risk of cardiovascular disease and if you have heart failure.
  • Cardiac catheterization uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter, which your doctor inserts into a blood vessel in your arm, groin or neck. They guide the catheter to your heart and can perform a number of diagnostic tests to look for heart problems.
  • Electrocardiogram records the electrical activity in your heart to look for heart rhythm problems and determine if parts of the heart are enlarged or working too hard.
  • Cardiac event recording is a battery-powered device that allows you to record your heart rhythm when you feel symptoms. Two types of cardiac event recording include Holter monitoring and implantable loop recording.
  • Tilt-table test helps your doctor understand the cause of dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness — for example, blood pressure or heart rate.
  • Electrophysiology study helps your doctor understand heart rhythm problems, such as the location in the heart where they originate.

 

We offer a wide range of heart disease treatment options using the latest technology. Our heart specialists and vascular surgeons will work with you to determine the right treatments for you. And whenever possible, we explore using noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment options first. We offer:

  • Advanced heart failure treatments, such as medications and diuretics, which help the kidneys remove excess water and salt from the body to help the heart pump blood
  • Arrhythmia treatments, such as medications, radiofrequency, cryoablation and cardioversion
  • Coronary artery disease treatments, such as medications, coronary artery stenting, brachytherapy and chronic total occlusion repair
  • Structural heart disease treatments, such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to treat aortic valve stenosis and MitraClip to treat mitral valve stenosis

Support services

When you’re managing a cardiovascular disease or recovering from a procedure, you deserve care that addresses your whole body, including your mind and spirit. We offer:

  • Cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover from vascular or heart disease treatment and safely get back to your daily routine
  • Nutrition counseling through our certified dietitians to complement your doctor’s care plan and prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Support groups and patient education to help you and your loved ones navigate and manage advanced heart failure
 

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Trahan, Karah, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Patel, Vijay S., MD

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dunlap, Stephanie H., DO

Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology

Thornton, John W, MD

Cardiovascular Disease

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