Heart Procedures and Treatment
Having Chest Pain?
In a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to call for you or to take you to the nearest emergency care facility. You may go to any hospital in your area for emergency care.
Helping You Get Back to a Healthier Life
Treatment for cardiovascular disease comes in many forms. Your doctor will guide you through your treatment and care plan, and help you manage any challenges along the way.
Preparing for Treatment
After your diagnostic tests or screenings, your doctor may determine that you need treatment. Regardless of the type of treatment you receive, your doctor will tell you everything you need to know about the treatment, and why it's recommended.
Educational handouts, three-dimensional models of the heart, images from your tests—all of these tools are used to explain and show you and your family the condition of your heart, how a diagnosis was made, and why treating the problem is so important
Learn more about common tests and how to prepare for them.
Common Types of Treatments and Procedures
Treatment for heart and vascular conditions varies broadly, depending on the severity of your disease. Some treatments are completely Noninvasive, while others may require more invasive procedures or surgery.
Medication is often recommended for people with less severe forms of cardiovascular disease. It could be as simple as adding aspirin to your daily regimen, or your doctor may recommend a medication that treats a specific condition, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, or blood clots.
Cardioversion is often used to restore a normal heart rhythm for people who have certain types of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias). Cardioversion is most often done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. Occasionally, your doctor may perform cardioversion using only medications to restore your heart's rhythm.
Procedures and Surgeries
- Angioplasty and Stents
Invasive but non-surgical, these procedures open up blocked arteries. Angioplasty opens up your blocked artery by using a special catheter (a long, thin tube) with a balloon tip, which is inflated to stretch on your artery wall and flatten any fatty deposits (known as "plaque"). Then, a small tube, called a stent, is inserted and permanently placed in your artery to keep it open. You'll be sedated during this procedure.
Used to treat some types of arrhythmia, a catheter ablation is a procedure that involves placing a long, thin, flexible tube (called an ablation catheter) into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck. The tube is then guided into your heart through the blood vessel, and a special machine sends energy through the tube to your heart. This energy destroys small areas of heart tissue where abnormal heartbeats may cause an arrhythmia to start.
For people who have an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, a pacemaker may be recommended. This small device, implanted under the skin below your collarbone during a minor surgical procedure, uses leads (wires) that are guided from the device and into your heart, to send electrical impulses and maintain a normal heart rhythm. You'll be heavily or completely sedated during this procedure.
- Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
Similar to a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) constantly monitors your heart rate and rhythm. When your heart starts beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly, an electrical signal is sent down the leads to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. An ICD is recommended for people who have a serious arrhythmia, or who have suffered a cardiac arrest or heart attack and are at risk for cardiac arrest. This is a minor surgical procedure that involves the same implantation process as a pacemaker. You'll be heavily or completely sedated.
- Heart Surgery
The most invasive form of cardiovascular disease treatment, heart surgery, or open heart surgery, involves making an incision down the center of your breastbone so the surgeon can access your heart. One type of surgery is a bypass, in which a blood vessel from your chest, arms, or legs is removed or redirected around a blocked artery to restore blood flow to your heart. Heart surgeries are very serious, but common, and require significant recovery time. You'll be completed sedated for the procedure.
- Minimally-invasive Heart Procedures
In minimally invasive heart procedures, your doctor makes one or more incisions, each about a half-inch long, to insert a tube. The number of incisions depends on the type of surgery. The tube or tubes let the doctor slip in tiny video cameras and specially designed surgical instruments to perform the procedure. You'll be sedated during this procedure. Minimally invasive surgery can be done using different surgical techninics, including Percutaneous & Endoscopic, Laproscopic, or Robot-assisted.
Common non-invasive surgeries and procedures are:
When you have minimally invasive surgery, you're likely to lose less blood and have less postoperative pain, fewer and smaller scars, and a faster recovery than you would after open surgery. Depending on your condition, you may need only a short hospital stay.
Whether your treatment is invasive or non-invasive, you'll have regular appointments with your doctor to monitor your progress. If you have had a heart attack, heart surgery, or angioplasty/stent, you will most likely be referred to cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover. Here, you'll get coaching on how to eat better, get your energy back up and be more active, and lead an overall healthier lifestyle.
For cancer survivors and patients, we offer specialized cardio-oncology services designed to prevent, monitor and treat cardiovascular disease and ensure long-term health. Our team of leading cardiologists and oncologists collaborate to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care to patients with cancer who have, or are at risk for, heart disease.
Learn about surgical and medical services offered for the treatment of heart and vascular conditions.