• Conditions We Treat

  • From advanced heart imaging technology to minimally invasive treatments and robotic assisted heart surgery, the Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center provides a full scope of care for any type of adult heart condition. We are committed to educating patients about treatment options so they can make the most informed health care decisions. Our team of highly-skilled cardiologists, surgeons and heart professionals offer world-class care for a full continuum of heart conditions.

  • aorticdisease.jpgThe aorta is the major blood vessel that arises from the heart and travels through the chest down to the lower body. Various diseases can affect the aorta, damaging or weakening the artery. High blood pressure, smoking and family history of aortic disease are the major risk factors. Many aortic problems are asymptomatic and are frequently discovered incidentally during tests for other conditions. Aneurysms of the aorta are areas where the aorta is enlarged to greater than one and a half times the normal diameter. Aneurysms are best repaired electively before complications develop. 

    Aortic Valve Stenosis 
    Those with aortic valve stenosis - when the aortic valve tightens or narrows, preventing blood from flowing through normally - affects tens of thousands of Americans each year, mostly women. Patients who have aortic valve stenosis may feel chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath and have difficulty exerting themselves, particularly when exercising. Sometimes, they don't have any symptoms and the stenosis can go undetected. If not treated, severe aortic stenosis can lead to heart failure and/or sudden death. Without treatment, it is likely that 50 percent of patients with aortic valve stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

    Up until now, the only treatment for this disease has been open heart aortic valve replacement surgery, but TAVR offers new hope for patients with this condition who are unable to have surgery due to sickness, weakness or being too high risk for an open heart procedure.   

    Severe Aortic Stenosis 
    In elderly patients, severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is often caused by the build-up of calcium (mineral deposits) on the aortic valve's leaflets (flaps of tissue that open and close to regulate the one-way flow of blood through the aortic valve). This build-up of calcium on the leaflets impairs the aortic valve's ability to fully open and close. As a result, the narrowed valve allows less oxygen-rich blood to flow from the lungs to the brain and rest of the body which may cause symptoms like severe shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.

    While open-chest surgery to replace the aortic valve is the gold standard treatment for severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, there are some patients who are not eligible for surgery or considered at high risk for surgery. These patients may be candidates for a therapy called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which allows Heart Teams to replace a diseased aortic heart valve without open-chest surgery. TAVR enables the placement of a balloon-expandable heart valve into the body with a tube-based delivery system called a catheter. This tube-based system allows the valve to be inserted through an incision in the leg and into an artery (transfemoral procedure), or through an incision between the ribs and then through the bottom end of the heart called the apex (transapical procedure). The transapical procedure is only available to certain high-risk patients who are not candidates for the transfemoral procedure because they do not have appropriate access through their leg artery.

    A Heart Team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether the TAVR procedure is an appropriate therapeutic option. In certain cases, TAVR may not be an option because of co-existing medical conditions or disease processes that would prevent the patient from experiencing the expected treatment benefit or because the risks outweigh the benefits. For those who are candidates for TAVR, this therapy may provide relief from the often debilitating symptoms associated with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis. 

    Treatment Options 
    Aortic Disease Clinic 
    Cardiac Surgery (Aortic Disease) 
    arth.jpgCoronary artery disease is atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, producing blockages in the vessels which nourish the heart itself. Atherosclerosis occurs when the arteries become clogged and narrowed, restricting blood flow. Without adequate blood flow from the coronary arteries, the heart becomes starved of oxygen and vital nutrients it needs to work properly. 


    Coronary Angiography/Stress Test 
    Interventional Cardiology 

    Cardiac Surgery (Coronary) 

    Other Arteries   
    Vascular Surgery 

    Aortic Disease Clinic 

    heartrhythm.jpgThe primary function of the heart is to supply blood and nutrients to the body. The regular beating, or contraction, of the heart moves the blood throughout the body. Each heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses traveling through the heart. In the normal heart these electrical impulses occur in regular intervals. When something goes wrong with the heart's electrical system, the heart does not beat regularly. The irregular beating results in a rhythm disorder, or arrhythmia. 

    Diagnostic Testing 
    Pacemaker Clinic 
    Ambulatory Monitoring 
    Cardiac Surgery (A-Fib Surgery) 

    lungdisease.jpgLung disease refers to disorders that affect the lungs, the organs that allow us to breathe. Breathing problems caused by lung disease may prevent the body from getting enough oxygen. Examples of lung diseases are:

    • Asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema
    • Infections, such as influenza and pneumonia
    • Lung cancer
    • Sarcoidosis (sar-KOY-doh-sis) and pulmonary fibrosis


    Thoracic Surgery

    aorticsten.jpgA heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud. Sometimes they sound like a whooshing or swishing noise. Normal heartbeats make a "lub-DUPP" or "lub-DUB" sound. This is the sound of the heart valves closing as blood moves through the heart. Doctors can hear these sounds and heart murmurs using a stethoscope.  In adults, abnormal heart murmurs most often are caused by acquired heart valve disease. As the heart pumps, blood flow is regulated by valves on either side of the pumping chambers. Valves regulate flow into and out of the ventricle. 

    Since the left ventricle provides blood to the body, most valve problems are related to either the mitral valve or the aortic valve. Either of these valves can fail to open properly, termed stenosis, or can leak after closing, termed regurgitation. The most common problem is aortic stenosis. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve fails to open properly, thus obstructing blood flow out of the heart. Shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, heart failure and even sudden death can result from this obstruction. The only effective treatment for aortic stenosis is replacement of the aortic valve. 

    Treatment Options 
    Murmur Clinic 
    Cardiac Surgery (Valve) 
    Minimally-Invasive Surgery

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