• Our Services

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. That's why when it comes to your heart health you want the best care possible. At the Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center, we offer comprehensive cardiac services right in your backyard. Our team of highly skilled physicians and clinical caregivers specialize in everything from heart disease prevention and education to diagnostic and treatment services. We offer cutting-edge cardiovascular procedures. 

  • AMRAmbulanceweb.jpgPenrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center works closely with American Medical Response, the Colorado Springs Fire Department and Flight for Life Colorado to treat patients who may be suffering from a heart attack. American Medical Response (AMR) is the designated first response ambulance service of the Emergency Services Agency of the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County. AMR provides Advanced Life Support care to both emergency patients who have called 911 and to patients being transported between facilities. All ambulances are staffed with Nationally Registered paramedics who have completed the American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support course in addition to extensive training in cardiac-related emergencies and 12-lead EKG interpretation.

    Flight For Lifeheartinstprehospitalserv_helicopter.jpg
    The Colorado Springs Fire Department is the first response agency to handle every type of perceived emergency involving the health of people in the community. All firefighters maintain a minimum medical certification of Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and are capable of providing basic level medical care including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), automatic heart defibrillation (AED), and first aid for injuries. Most of the department's response units also have firefighters with the certification of Paramedic (PM) and are able to provide more highly advanced care including heart monitoring.        

    Current guidelines require "door to treatment" within 90 minutes or less, and we are well within that limit.

    Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center are proud to be Accredited Chest Pain Centers for southern Colorado.Chest Pain Accredited Logo

    When you're having a heart attack, time equals heart muscle - the longer it takes to unclog a blockage, the more damage your heart will sustain. Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center are proud to be Accredited Chest Pain Centers for southern Colorado. Hospitals that have received Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack. 

    To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center engaged in rigorous evaluations by SCPC for their ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by Penrose-St. Francis, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:

    • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
    • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
    • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

    If you or a loved one is experiencing chest pain, call 911 immediately.

    The Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center performs diagnostic procedures to evaluate cardiovascular function and to identify structural abnormalities, including blockages or heart valve malformations to over 4000 patients annually.

    Clinical Cardiology

    Clinical cardiology is the diagnosis, management, and prevention of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Colorado Springs Cardiology, A Centura Health Clinic provides a full range of non-invasive testing, guidance about prevention strategies and prescribe medications to help you control your condition.


    Examination & Consultation

    A cardiac consultation is an opportunity for patients to speak one-on-one with their doctor about their individual cardiac issues, including current symptoms, personal risks and lifestyle habits that can contribute to these factors. A consultation may also be scheduled for patients who are undergoing surgery soon in order to fully discuss the details of the procedure and any preoperative preparations that may be needed. Consultations for second opinions are also welcome.|

    Stress Testing

    A stress echo is performed to see how your heart works while you exercise. An echocardiogram taken while you rest, you then exercise, and then another echo is done while your heart is beating fast or if you are unable to exercise, you are given medication (Dobutamine) via an intravenous (IV) needle in your arm which makes your heart react as if your body was exercising.

    Ambulatory Monitoring
    During Ambulatory Monitoring, an ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart while you do your usual activities. Ambulatory monitors are referred to by several names, including ambulatory electrocardiogram, ambulatory EKG, Holter monitoring, 24-hour EKG, or cardiac event monitoring. Many heart problems become noticeable only during activity, such as exercise, eating, sex, stress, bowel movements, or even sleeping. A continuous 24-hour recording is more likely to detect any abnormal heartbeats that occur during these activities.

    his test uses ultra sound (sound waves) to study the structure of your heart and how the heart and valves are working. A probe is passed over your chest and heart which sends out and records these sound waves showing a moving image of your heart on a computer.

    Tilt Table Testing
    If you have episodes of fainting, a tilt table test is used to investigate if these could be related to your heart. You lie on a special table, which can be angled so you lie down or stand up and you will be attached to a heart and blood pressure monitor which record how your heart rate and blood pressure respond to changes in position. During the test you may have an intravenous needle in your arm so you can be given medication.

    Nuclear Cardiology
    A Cardiac Nuclear Scan, also known as Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, is a test that uses a radioactive substance, or radiopharmaceutical, to produce images of the blood flow to the heart muscle. When combined with stress testing, the scanning helps determine if areas of the heart are not receiving enough blood, which is especially useful in diagnosing blocked arteries. A cardiac nuclear scan may take three to four hours for the entire test, which includes preparation, a stress test, and imaging before and after the stress test. The radiation exposure during a Cardiac Nuclear Scan is small, and the doses used are safe. However, if you are pregnant, suspect you may be, or are a nursing mother, be sure to let your doctor know. The stress test is also safe, but because the heart is being stressed, there is a small amount of risk. Possible rare complications include abnormal heart rhythms or heart attack. Experienced personnel are available to handle any emergency. We proudly offer Cardiac Nuclear Scanning at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center.

    Pacemaker Clinic The Electrophysiology Lab (EP Lab) is equipped with the latest technology ever to be offered to the Pikes Peak region. Our physicians are well-experienced in all electrophysiology procedures as well as areas of mapping procedures.  These include mapping by electro grams from diagnostic catheters with the heart to 3-D mapping with Biosense Webster Carto Sound and St. Judes Ensite, mapping systems that create realistic cardiac chamber geometries or models, display activation timing and voltage data to identify arrhythmias, and guide precise catheter movement.  These mapping systems can drastically reduce the amount of X-rays the patient will be exposed to during a procedure. Patient safety is our number one priority in our lab, which is staffed with critical care Registered Nurses.  They are physician-trained in scrub techniques for an electrophysiology procedure, whether it's ablation, device implants or laser lead extractions.  Their sole concern is the safety and well-being of every patient who enters our lab.

    Pacemaker/DefibrillatorImplantation & Pacemaker Clinic
    If a patient suffers from a slow or a fast heartbeat, there are implantable devices that will make the heartbeat regular and treat an arrhythmia. Slow heartbeats are treated with pacemakers. Fast, dangerous heartbeats, which may lead to cardiac arrest, are treated with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).

    The Penrose Pacemaker Clinic is responsible for the follow-up monitoring of all pacemakers and Internal Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs). Our clinicians work closely with physicians to provide effective quality care to each and every patient. The patient is seen initially three months after the pacemaker or ICD is placed.  All pacemakers or ICDs are then followed on a regular basis, whether it be every three months for an ICD or every six months for pacemakers.  As the device ages, inspections may occur more frequently to monitor the appropriate time for replacement.

    Each visit to the Penrose Pacemaker Clinic involves a painless inspection of the device, which takes approximately 20 minutes.  A large number of information provided by the device is monitored to ensure the device is stable and safe. The clinician is able to determine if any arrhythmias have occurred or therapies have been delivered by the device. Depending on the assessment, the physician is notified and appropriate actions are taken. All inspection reports are submitted to the physicians for review and signatures. Patients are treated on an individual basis and the devices are programmed to meet their lifestyle and needs.

    Remote Monitoring - Many patients qualify for remote monitoring. Using state-of-the-art technology, our clinic is able to inspect the device remotely via the internet.  This enables the patient to transmit information and receive the same quality care without the need for a hospital visit.  This is extremely beneficial for patients who live out of the local area or who are unable to travel.  If a patient feels he or she has had a cardiac event, this remote monitoring can be used to assess the device and alert the physician in a timely manner, without the need to be seen in the emergency room or clinic.

    Patients are encouraged to contact the Penrose Pacemaker Clinic if there are any problems or questions related to their device.  The clinic maintains a 24/7 on-call schedule in order to be available for after-hour emergencies.  Our goal is to provide quality care and emotional support to each and every patient. For more information, call 719-776-5000.

    Electrophysiology Studies
    If you have abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or palpitations you may need this test. Similar to an angiography, fine tubes (electrode catheters) are fed into a vein and/or artery usually in the groin. They are then gently moved into the heart, where they stimulate the heart and record your heart's electrical activity.

    Arrhythmia Ablation
    Ablation is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. The type of arrhythmia and the presence of other heart disease will determine whether ablation can be performed surgically or non-surgically. Non-surgical ablation, used for many types of arrhythmias, is performed in a special lab called the electrophysiology (EP) laboratory. During this non-surgical procedure a catheter is inserted into a specific area of the heart. A special machine directs energy through the catheter to small areas of the heart muscle that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy "disconnects" the pathway of the abnormal rhythm. It can also be used to disconnect the electrical pathway between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Surgical ablation procedures used for treating atrial fibrillation can be "minimally invasive" or traditional "open" surgery and may be combined with other surgical therapies such as bypass surgery, valve repair, or valve replacement.

    Atrial Fibrillation Ablation
    During this procedure, a thin wire (catheter) is positioned inside your heart near the pulmonary veins. Radio energy applied to the tip of this catheter is used to cauterize (ablate) the heart tissue around each pulmonary vein. This electrically "disconnects" the pulmonary veins from the left atrium. As a result, the abnormal electrical signals from the pulmonary veins can no longer reach the rest of the heart and trigger Atrial Fibrillation.

    Coronary and Peripheral Angiography
    An angiogram is an x-ray image of arteries and veins which is created using a contrast "dye" to check for such conditions as blood vessel narrowing or enlargement, blockages and possible leakages. The exam is performed using a catheter, a long flexible tube that is gently guided through the blood vessels with the aid of x-ray images on a monitor, or can be non-invasive using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT scan). Angiograms are commonly used for assessing blood vessel health in and around the heart, brain, kidneys and in the legs. Cardiologists perform coronary angiograms to look for blockages or other abnormalities in blood vessels in the heart. This procedure involves cardiac catheterization - the use of a catheter which is usually placed in the artery through a puncture site in the groin or arm, and then gently guided into one of the two major coronary arteries. The cardiologist then injects an iodine-based contrast through the catheter and into the artery, which will be visible when x-rays are taken. The contrast highlights blood movement through the artery, and narrowing caused by blockages can be clearly discerned.

    Peripheral angiograms use the same procedure with x-rays, dye and a catheter, but are instead performed to examine the vessels to the arms, legs, kidneys, or abdomen. In the legs, blockages causing interrupted blood flow can result in cramps during walking and reduce the healing ability of foot injuries or wounds such as sores or ulcers. Decreased blood flow can also cause legs to become pale or turn slightly blue, or result in colder limbs and decreased nail and hair growth.

    Our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, or Cath Lab, provides state-of-the-art angiographic assessment of coronary artery anatomy and the flow of blood through the structures of the heart. The Cath Lab is ready 24/7 to assist a patient with life-threatening cardiac or peripheral vascular disease to quickly restore them to optimal health.

    Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting
    These procedures help manage of blockages in arteries to the heart, legs, kidneys, and carotid arteries to the brain. Angioplasty is generally performed from the artery in the groin or arm to gain access to the blockage requiring treatment. A balloon catheter is placed over a guide wire at the site of the blockage using x-ray guidance. Once positioned, the balloon is inflated, thereby pushing the atherosclerotic material up against the vessel wall. Often, a stent, which is a metal mesh device, is used as scaffolding for the arterial wall after angioplasty. Once deployed, the stent becomes encapsulated through the addition of new lining cells within days of the procedure. Stents have reduced the incidence of recurrent blockages after balloon angioplasty.

    heart surgery Cardiac surgery is done to correct problems with the heart. More than half a million heart surgery are done each year in the United States for many heart problems. The cardiac surgeons at the Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center perform more heart surgeries than any other hospital in Colorado. The most common type of cardiac surgery for adults is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). During CABG, surgeons use healthy arteries or veins taken from another part of the body to bypass, or go around, blocked heart arteries. CABG relieves chest pain and reduces the risk of heart attack.

    Penrose-St. Francis has the busiest heart surgery program in Colorado.

    Cardiac surgery also is done to:

    • Repair or replace valves that control the direction of blood flow through the heart
    • Repair abnormal or damaged structures in the heart
    • Implant medical devices that help control the heartbeat or support heart function and blood flow
    • Replace a damaged heart with a healthy heart from a donor

    Traditional cardiac surgery, often called open-heart surgery, is done by opening the chest wall to operate on the heart. Surgeons cut through the patient's breastbone (or just the upper part of it) to open the chest. Many heart surgery can now be done through small incisions (cuts) between the ribs. This is called minimally-invasive heart surgery. This type of heart surgery may or may not use a heart-lung bypass machine. The results of heart surgery in adults often are excellent. Heart surgery can reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and increase lifespan.

    Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
    Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is done to reroute or "bypass" blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.  A healthy blood vessel from another part of the body is used to bring new blood flow around the blockage, allowing blood to flow freely again to the heart muscle. Dr. Mehall routinely uses the technique of bilateral mammary artery grafting, a strategy with the highest long-term survival and graft patency. Bypass surgery can be performed either with the heart-lung machine or on the beating heart, depending on the needs of the patient.

    Heart Valve Surgery
    When a valve doesn't open all the way or leaks, blood doesn't move through the heart's chambers properly. This can result in the heart having to work harder to pump the same amount of blood, or even a backup of blood in the lungs or body. In heart valve surgery, one or more valves are either repaired or replaced.  Penrose Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery is experienced in all facets of valve surgery, including mitral/aortic/tricuspid valve repair and replacement. Dr. Mehall has particular expertise in minimally invasive mitral valve repair. Successful mitral valve repair has been achieved in over 90 percent of patients to date.  Mitral valve repairs are performed minimally invasively without splitting the breastbone in over 90 percent of cases.  The average hospital stay following minimally invasive mitral valve repair is four days.  

    Atrial Fibrillation Surgery 
    Penrose Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery has been at the forefront of atrial fibrillation surgery for almost a decade and was one of the first programs in the nation to pursue surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation.  Ablation for atrial fibrillation can be performed on the beating heart without dividing the breastbone, using a variety of minimally invasive approaches depending on the patient's needs. Patients who have atrial fibrillation and are undergoing traditional open heart surgery for other reasons are offered concomitant atrial fibrillation ablation at the time of their open heart surgery.  Procedures to treat atrial fibrillation include removal of the left atrial appendage, the major source of strokes in atrial fibrillation patients.  The goal of the procedure is to restore the heart's normal rhythm by interrupting certain "short circuits" in the atrium, which can be accomplished in most cases.

    Aortic Surgery
    Aortic surgery can be performed using a traditional open approach, or using an endovascular approach. With endovascular surgery, a graft is guided up through the arterial system into the diseased aorta. The graft is then deployed to exclude blood flow from the diseased area. Not all aortic diseases can be treated using endovascular surgery and your surgeon will discuss the options for your particular problem.

    Minimally-Invasive Aortic and Mitro Valve Repair/Replacement
    Penrose Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery is the leading minimally-invasive cardiac surgery program in Colorado and the only hospital to perform minimally-invasive aortic and mitro valve repair/replacement. Minimally-invasive cardiac surgery is performed without dividing the breastbone and may include robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® surgical robot. Whether robotics are utilized or not, the patient experience is similar and averages only four days in the hospital.

    Minimally invasive cardiac procedures include:

    • Mitral valve repair or replacement
    • Aortic valve replacement
    • Cardiac tumors
    • Atrial septal defect closure
    • Ventricular pacing lead placement

    Benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

    • Shorter hospital stay
    • Less pain
    • Lower need for blood transfusions
    • Faster recovery/quicker return to daily and professional activities
    • Decreased use of pain medications
    • Decreased risk of infection
    • Smaller incisions with minimal scarring

    "Bloodless" Surgery- Blood Conservation
    Penrose Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery is a leader in blood conservation. Meticulous attention to all aspects of blood conservation enables Penrose
    Cardiothoracic Surgery to offer cardiac surgery with transfusion rates below the national average. Dr. Mehall has experience performing cardiac surgery on Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Hybrid ORThe Hybrid OR Suite is a large surgical suite that combines state-of-the-art computer-generated technology and radiologic imaging with a sterile operating room environment. It allows physicians to switch minimally-invasive operations into open surgical procedures when needed, without having to transport the patient. Critical time can be lost when a patient needs to be transferred to a separate operating room. Sometimes these moments can save the patient’s life. Our cardiovascular surgeons use this unique suite for many procedures. Penrose Hospital is the only hospital in southern Colorado to offer this technology.

    " It was really very easy. My recovery took no longer than two weeks, and I am doing great now. I just have four little incisions on my right side. I was sore, which was only natural, but I was amazed at how well I got along." -- Marlene S., robotic-assisted heart surgery patient

    Surgeons at the Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center use minimally-invasive techniques and the da Vinci® Surgical System to perform minimally-invasive cardiac surgery leading the way in state-of-the-art technology. Minimally-invasive cardiac surgery is performed without dividing the breastbone like traditional open heart surgery. These approaches may include video imaging or robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® surgical robot. Patients average only four days in the hospital for most operations. Because the breastbone is not divided, there are fewer restrictions post-operatively and patients can resume normal activities more quickly.  With enhanced surgical capabilities, physicians are now able to extend the benefits of minimally-invasive surgery to the broadest possible range of patients. 

    Minimally-invasive cardiac procedures include:

    • Mitral valve repair or replacement
    • Aortic valve replacement
    • Coronary artery bypass in some patients
    • Atrial septal defect closure
    • Cardiac Tumors

    Benefits of minimally-invasive surgery include:

    • Shorter hospital stay
    • Less pain
    • Lower need for blood transfusions
    • Faster recovery/quicker return to daily and professional activities
    • Decreased use of pain medications
    • Decreased risk of infection
    • Smaller incisions with minimal scarring

    Talk to your surgeon to find out if minimally-invasive cardiac surgery is right for you.

    For patients who have been deemed inoperable for traditional open-heart surgery, a new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is now available as a treatment option. TAVR is a less invasive alternative to open heart valve replacement surgery and is only offered in southern Colorado at Penrose Hospital.

    TAVR Procedure Animation  


    What is TAVR?

    Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is a less invasive procedure performed by squeezing the valve onto a balloon and inserting it with a catheter, which is sent to the heart for implantation. This insertion is typically done through the groin, however, if the patient does not have suitable access through their leg artery, TAVR can also be inserted via an incision between the ribs and through the bottom end of the heart called the apex. Once the valve is in the right place, the balloon is inflated and the valve precisely positioned. The TAVR procedure is designed to replace the patient's diseased valve while the heart continues to beat - eliminating the need for cardiopulmonary bypass (the use of a heart-lung machine).

    Open heart procedure offers
    renewed hope for high-risk patients
    Gazette, April 13, 2013

    Good candidates for TAVR include those with:

    • Severe symptoms of aortic stenosis
    • Severe symptomatic aortic valve disease
    • Multiple co-morbidities
    • Sickness, weakness
    • Patients who are too high risk for open heart procedures
    • Heart murmurs
    • Diabetes
    • Renal disease
    • Frailty

    Benefits of Aortic Valve Intervention include:

    • Ability to treat patients who are otherwise inoperable
    • Allows intervention for aortic valve stenosis in patients who otherwise are not a candidate for aortic valve replacement
    • Extends therapy to inoperable patients
    • Lower mortality in high risk surgical patients

    What You and Your Loved Ones Should Before Your Procedure

    Vascular surgery is a surgical specialty in which diseases of the vascular system, or arteries and veins, are managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction. The Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center has earned recognition from HealthGrades in the following areas:

    • Recipient of the HealthGrades Vascular Surgery Excellence Award™ in 2012
    • Ranked Among the Top 5% in the Nation for Vascular Surgery in 2012
    • Ranked #1 in CO for Vascular Surgery in 2012
    • Ranked Among the Top 5 in CO for Vascular Surgery in 2012
    • Five-Star Rated for Vascular Surgery in 2012
    • Five-Star Rated for Carotid Surgery in 2012
    • Five-Star Rated for Peripheral Vascular Bypass in 2012

    Some of the procedures performed at the Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center include:

    Endovascular Aneurysm Surgery
    In this procedure, a device called an endoluminal stent graft-or endograft-is placed inside the diseased artery to provide support for the weakened artery.  The device alleviates blood pressure in the aneurysm, allowing blood to pass freely without pushing on the weakened artery.  This procedure can be done in the thoracic aorta, abdominal aorta, iliac artery, or popliteal artery.

    Varicose Veins IVC Filter Placement and Removal
    This is an umbrella shaped device designed to catch life threatening clots from traveling to the lungs and causing  pulmonary emboli.  It is used when a patient cannot safely take anticoagulation, has to suspend their anticoagulation, or has clots refractory to anticoagulation.  Some of these devices are removable.

    Open Aneurysm Surgery
    An aneurysm is a swelling or ballooning of an artery due to weakness in the artery wall.  This is life threatening if the artery were to burst.  In open aneurysm surgery, the artery is freed up above and below the aneurysm and a new artificial artery is inserted.

    Lower Extremity Arterial Surgery
    Many patients have clogging of the arteries that causes blockages and narrowing of the arteries that supply their legs. Dr. Crepps and Dr. Kissell do a variety of procedures to treat these blockages.  Sometimes they can repair the artery from inside the blood vessel, or by using "endovascular" techniques similar to heart catheterization.  These procedures would include stenting, angioplasty, atherectomy, and endografting. Other times they have to do open surgery to bypass or reroute around the blockage with a patient's vein or artificial artery.

    Carotid Surgery
    A carotid endarterectomy is a procedure where the narrowed carotid artery is cleaned out in order to reduce the patient's stroke risk.

    Dialysis Access Surgery
    Dr. Crepps and Dr. Kissell place peritoneal dialysis catheters and create hemodialysis fistulas and grafts for dialysis patients.  They also do declots and maintenance on these accesses when they develop problems.

    Varicose Vein Surgery
    Our doctors evaluate and treat varicose veins. They start with an ultrasound evaluation to look for venous reflux, or veins that allow the blood to flow backwards.  They perform varicose vein surgery including endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, phlebectomies, and sclerotherapy. 

    chest surgery General Thoracic Surgery & Thoracic Oncology
    General thoracic surgery includes surgical therapy for a wide variety of both malignant and benign diseases of the chest. Most thoracic surgical procedures can be done using minimally invasive or incisionless (endoscopic) procedures. Some procedures are done with standard open surgical techniques and others require extremely complex surgical techniques that are only done by general thoracic surgeons. We offer all aspects of surgical care for patients with diseases of the lungs, trachea, esophagus and mediastinum.

    Some of the conditions we treat include:
    - Lung cancer
    - Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    - Cancer of the esophagus
    - Hiatal hernias
    - Swallowing disorders such as achalasia
    - Excess sweating, usually of the upper extremity called hyperhydrosis

    Some of the procedures we perform inlcude:
    - Removal of portion(s) of the lung containing cancer, eg, lobectomy, pneumonectomy
    - Thoracoscopy or VATS
    - Removal of a portion of the esophagus containing cancer and reconstruction of the gastrointestinal tract or esophagogastrectomy
    - Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication
    - Laparoscopic Heller myotomy
    - Thoracoscopic sympathectomy
    - Bronchoscopy and/or esophagoscopy

    Minimally-Invasive Thoracic Surgery (also called VATS or Thoracoscopic Surgery)

    Most patients with lung cancer undergoing operation can be offered minimally invasive surgery to remove the cancer. VATS uses small incisions and avoids spreading or dividing the ribs by utilizing a video scope to guide the surgeon. Because the surgeon works between the ribs with a camera, patients can recover more quickly with less pain and patients are also less likely to have complications from surgery. Patients who need chemotherapy after surgery are more likely to complete all of their chemotherapy and improve the chances of being cured.

    "Fabulous care from top to bottom. From original surgery through rehab, I received loving and comprehensive care at every stage." -- Bruce, left thoracotomy, esophageal repair

    Thoracic Oncology-Multidisciplinary Care

    Penrose Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery and the Penrose Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Center in Colorado, offer an unprecedented level of experience, technology, expertise and collaboration to the southern Colorado communities we serve. Our multidisciplinary thoracic oncology group includes a thoracic surgeon, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pulmonologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurse navigators and clinical trial coordinators, and meets weekly to tailor individualized treatment strategies. This approach eliminates unnecessary testing and streamlines the steps leading to definitive care.


    National Cancer Institute

    Penrose Cancer Center is one of 30 sites nationwide and the only center in Colorado to be selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to participate in the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) to encourage the collaboration of private-practice medical, and surgical and radiation oncologists. The initiative will bring thousands more Americans into a system of high-quality cancer care, enhancing treatment forunderserved populations, as well as for racial and ethnic groups with unusually high cancer rates.

    Cardiac Care Unit

    After a heart attack or major cardiac surgery, patients will stay in our Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), which offers highly specialized care until their condition stabilizes. Our CCU contains extensive heart monitoring and testing equipment as well as a staff trained and certified in heart conditions and procedures. The CCU at Penrose Hospital offers heart patients a custom care experience, close to home. Nurses, physicians, respiratory  therapists, dietitians, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational  therapists, resource managers and clergy members all contribute their expertise to meet patients' overall needs.

    The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CV-ICU) is a six-bed intensive care unit equipped to meet the complex needs of patients with cardiovascular disease. This highly specialized unit is dedicated to the care of patients who have gone through open heart surgery, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), or other vascular surgeries (e.g. aneurysm repair and carotid surgery) which require intensive monitoring and nursing observation. The skilled nursing staff is trained to manage cardiovascular surgical patients and provide the highest level of care. The patients are transferred to the Cardiovascular Unit when leaving the CV-ICU for continued monitoring.

    cardiac rehab Penrose-St. Francis Cardiac Rehabilitation helps people recovering from a heart attack, valve or bypass surgery, stent implant or other heart problem. Rehabilitation helps prepare you physically, mentally and emotionally for return to work and normal family and social life. It also helps you slowly and safely get back to normal activities. Our therapists talk to you about changes you can make to help reduce your risk of more heart problems. A physician referral is required for cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac Rehabilitation can:

    • Increase your chances of surviving a heart attack or other heart problem
    • Increase your ability to be active and exercise
    • Help you return to work sooner
    • Help you get back to a normal lifestyle
    • Improve overall health and well-being

    Inpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation
    Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase I provides educational services for patients hospitalized at Penrose Hospital and St- Francis Medical Center for open heart surgery, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, and other coronary artery disease related diagnoses.  Trained Cardiac Nurses provide education about recovery, activity and coronary artery risk factor modification to patients and family members.

    Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation 
    Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase II is designed primarily for patients with a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, open-heart surgery, recent myocardial infarction, angioplasty, stent, or stable angina. This comprehensive program offers prescribed cardiovascular exercise, risk factor modification, education, on-going nursing assessment and referral to nutritionist and behavioral intervention based on individual need.  This multifaceted program is designed to limit the adverse physiologic and psychological effects of cardiac illness, reduce risk of sudden death or reinfarction, control cardiac symptoms, stabilize the atherosclerotic process and enhance the patient's psychosocial and vocational status. Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase II Program is reimbursed by Medicare and most other payers. Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation is offered at Audubon Medical Campus and St. Francis Medical Center.

    For more information on Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation, talk to your doctor for a referral or call:

    Audubon Medical Campus
    3030 N. Circle Drive, Suite 215
    (corner of Circle and Union)
    Colorado Springs, CO  80909

    719-776-4866 FAX

    St. Francis Medical Center - 719-571-1595

    The Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Penrose-St. Francis is proud to be the first Nationally Accredited Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in Colorado.

    The Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is proud to be certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). Our program was recognized for its commitment to improving the quality of life by enhancing standards of care. We participated in the one month application process which requires extensive documentation of the program's practices. The AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-reviewed accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by the AACVPR and other professional societies. Each program is reviewed by the AACVPR National Certification Committee and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors. Certified AACVPR programs are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. AACVPR Program Certification is valid for three years.

    A personal, supervised program designed for you

    The Penrose-St. Francis Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program helps people with moderate to severe breathing problems overcome physical limitations resulting from their disease. Candidates for the program include those experiencing lung problems such as:

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Emphysema
    • Chronic Bronchitis
    • Asthma
    • Bronchiectasis
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Pulmonary Hypertension
    • Pulmonary Fibrosis
    • Interstitial lung disease
    • Lung cancer and lung cancer surgery
    • Lung volume reduction surgery before and after lung transplantation


    Each patient’s program begins with a comprehensive pulmonary evaluation by clinical experts in pulmonary rehabilitation. Through a carefully planned, integrated and individualized program of supervised physical conditioning, exercise and educational and nutritional counseling, physical capacity is increased and the patient is empowered to overcome their shortness of breath. 

    Our Services:

    Medical Evaluation
    A comprehensive medical evaluation is conducted by our pulmonary rehabilitation team, then an individualized program is developed based on their findings.

    Monitored and Supervised Exercise
    People with pulmonary disease often limit physical activity because they are frightened they will become short of breath; lack of activity, however, reduces muscle strength and causes weakness. Our pulmonary rehabilitation program includes exercises and activities tailored to your needs to help participants increase physical capacity and regain control of breathing. By combining exercise with other services patients improve their abilities to carry out activities of daily living with more energy and less difficulty.

    Educational Programs
    Our education classes focus on COPD and other chronic lung diseases providing you with information about:

    • Medications, including drug action, side effects, using an inhaler, and self-care techniques
    • Understanding and using oxygen therapy
    • Diet, nutrition, and weight management
    • Breathing retraining
    • Importance of exercise
    • Strategies for managing breathing problems
    • Symptom assessment to know about when to seek medical treatment


    Psychosocial Support
    People who have chronic lung diseases are more prone to depression, anxiety and other emotional problems. Our program offers counseling referrals from a variety of sources.


    Pulmonary Rehabilitation helps you improve your quality of life. Even though pulmonary rehabilitation can’t cure your lung disease, it can be of great benefit. And, you may notice improved breathing effort and less breathing problems.

    Additional benefits include:

    • Reduce and control breathing difficulties and other symptoms
    • Knowledge about your disease, treatment options, and chronic disease coping strategies
    • Learn to manage your disease and reduce dependence on costly medical resources
    • Maintain healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation, good nutrition and exercise
    • Decreased symptoms of your disease
    • Ability to function better in your daily life
    • Increased ability to exercise
    • Decreased symptoms and better management of anxiety and depression



    Contact Us

    A physician referral is needed to participate in the pulmonary rehabilitation program. Talk to your doctor to find out if pulmonary rehabilitation is right for you. To learn more about the Penrose-St. Francis Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, call 719-776.4880.

    Audubon Medical Campus
    3030 N. Circle Drive, Suite 215
    Colorado Springs, CO 80909
    Phone: 719-776-4880
    Fax: 719-776-4866

    The Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center Aortic Disease Clinic offers comprehensive evaluation and long-term management of patients with all varieties of aortic disease - aortic aneurysms, aortic dissections, aortic ulcers, and stenosis/atherosclerotic disease of the aorta.  Any patient with an aortic abnormality will be evaluated and a plan for either continued surveillance or repair will be developed.  After either open or endovascular repair, all aortic patients will continue to be followed for life to monitor the repaired aorta and because many develop other aortic diseases or complications. For more information, call 719-776-7600.

    anticoagulation_clinic.jpgThe Penrose-St. Francis Anticoagulation Clinic is a service established to monitor and manage the medication(s) that you take to prevent blood clots. Physically, it is a specified location within a hospital or a medical office that is staffed by Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, and/or Registered Nurses. This group of providers, working in conjunction with your physician, will test your blood and adjust your dose of warfarin (Coumadin ® or Jantoven ®) as well as other medicines that may be needed (such as heparin shots or Vitamin K, the antidote to coumadin).

    Our clinic's primary goal is to minimize and prevent adverse events and hospitalizations related to complications from anticoagulation therapy while maximizing patient benefits. The clinic also strives to develop well-informed, compliant patients by providing comprehensive, ongoing education. The clinic provides consistent follow-up and communication with the referring or primary physician.

    Our clinic is staffed by professionals with specialized training in anticoagulation management with Physician Medical Director oversight.  Through a comprehensive process which includes on-site laboratory testing using venous blood with immediate results, the clinic monitors the patient's therapy and adjusts dosages according to protocol to maintain a therapeutic International Normalized Ratio (INR).  At each clinic visit, the provider also monitors patients for hemorrhagic and thromboembolic complications and provides patient education regarding the safe use of anticoagulation therapy.  The provider serves as a resource for physicians to assist in the stabilization of patient's anticoagulation therapy.

    Benefits to patients:

    • Comprehensive, ongoing patient education and communication.
    • Consistent and prompt INR monitoring.
    • Prompt dosage adjustments.
    • Intervention for drug interactions.

    Patients may be followed upon written referral from a physician. For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Penrose-St. Francis Anticoagulation Clinic, please call 719-776-3600. Physician referrals may be faxed to 719-776-3610.

    The Penrose-St. Francis Heart & Vascular Center provides a multidisciplinary murmur clinic in which patients with heart murmurs are evaluated with echocardiography then jointly by a cardiologist and cardiac surgeon. A collaborative plan for management is then developed and follow-up is arranged.  A nurse coordinates the patient's care and facilitates communication with the patient's primary care physician.  A screening tool for heart disease is also offered to primary care physicians who can apply it to their patients.  Results of the screening test are reviewed by the coordinating nurse and patients with positive findings are brought in for evaluation.
    For more information, call 719-77-MURMUR (68768).

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