Cardiac Conditions

The cardiologists, surgeons, and electrophysiologists of St. Vincent’s Regional Heart and Vascular Center have the training, experience, and state-of-the-art technologies needed to effectively diagnose and design a treatment program custom tailored to your heart’s needs, from the inconvenient to the life-threatening.

To get started with an appointment or consultation about your heart health needs, learn more about our locations and cardiologists. 


"After my surgery, I told my doctor I like to go to the gym but I’m worried about getting my heart rate too high. He looked me in the eye and smiled and said: You go work your heart out. Six months after my AFib procedure, I’m so glad I did it because I feel great. " - Richard, Wilton, CT


Cardiovascular Conditions

Angina

Angina chest pain most often occurs when fatty deposits on the inner walls of coronary arteries impede the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. St. Vincent’s cardiologists will assess your level of risk based on a physical examination, family history, and any required diagnostic technologies to arrive at a course of treatment that can range from simple medications to interventional procedures that unblock or surgically repair the affected blood vessel. 

Aortic Aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a condition in which the wall of the main artery coming from the heart develops a weak spot that bulges outward under pressure from the blood flowing through it. Aneurysms are dangerous because they can rupture, causing life-threatening internal bleeding. When detected in time, aneurysms can be surgically repaired. 

Aortic Valve Stenosis

Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the valve opening between the heart and the body’s main artery becomes narrowed, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood. This strain can weaken the heart muscle and cause fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, and congestive heart failure. A variety of treatments include advanced minimally invasive valve replacement surgery. 

AFib (Atrial Fibrillation) & Other Cardiac Rhythm Disturbances

Sometimes, the electrical activity that controls the beating of your heart can become “disorganized,” causing arrhythmias, like beating too fast or too slow, fluttering, or skipping beats. The most common cause is an underlying heart condition. Treatments range from heart rhythm-controlling medications and lifestyle changes to advanced minimally invasive procedures like convergent and hybrid ablations. St. Vincent’s is a national leader in the treatment of AFib, and is the only hospital in the tri-state area to offer the full spectrum of available treatments. Call (203)382-2502 to make an appointment with an AFib specialist.

Carotid Artery Stenosis

Carotid Artery Stenosis occurs when fatty deposits cause narrowing in the arteries that supply blood to the brain. This increases the risk of stroke, but often there are no symptoms until a stroke has occurred. St. Vincent’s cardiologists can confirm carotid artery stenosis with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medications, and procedures to remove plaque or place stents in the affected veins. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Causes can include weakened heart muscles, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. Symptoms can come and go, and include fatigue, shortness of breath, and fluid retention. Congestive Heart Failure can’t be cured, but can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, or procedures that treat the underlying causes. Learn more about our Heart Failure Clinic.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the reduction or blockage of blood flowing to the heart muscle caused by fatty deposits in your coronary arteries. The disease is quiet and progressive—many “sudden” heart attacks are, in fact, the result of years of CAD. Our cardiologists have a wide range of tools available to confirm CAD and treatments range from medications and lifestyle changes to coronary artery bypass surgery.

Elevated Cholesterol

This is a condition in which you have too much cholesterol in your blood, putting you at risk of developing coronary artery disease (see above). Foods high in fats, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and family history are all factors for high cholesterol. Treating high cholesterol requires lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss. If these measures fail to control cholesterol, our doctors may prescribe medication to assist.

Fainting

Fainting, or “blacking out,” is a sudden loss of consciousness brought on by inadequate blood flow to the brain. Most fainting is caused by reflexive reactions to environmental, emotional, or physical factors. Fainting can also be a symptom of heart disease (most often an arrhythmia), so it should be treated as a serious medical condition until a cause can be determined. 

Heart Attack/Myocardial Infarction (MI)

A Heart Attack, or Myocardial Infarction (MI), occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, most often due to coronary artery disease (see above). Stereotypically, a Heart Attack feels like crushing pressure or pain in the chest, however many other less dramatic symptoms may occur, especially in women, e.g. fatigue, jaw/neck pain, or shortness of breath. Treatment can be as simple as medications, including aspirin, or as involved as coronary bypass surgery, and almost always requires lifestyle changes.

Heart Muscle Disorders/Cardiomyopathies

Also called Cardiomyopathies, these are conditions of a heart that has become enlarged, thickened, or stiffened, impairing its ability to effectively pump blood. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and arrhythmias. Causes can be acquired or genetic, and there is a wide range of treatments available for our cardiologists to tailor a plan for you.

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. When that pressure measures 140/80 and up, it’s considered high. While some experts disagree as to whether the cutoff for high blood pressure should be lower or higher, talk to your doctor to determine your target blood pressure. Doctors may first try controlling it with lifestyle changes, like healthy eating, exercise, and lowering your salt intake. If that doesn’t work, medication may be tried. Successfully lowering blood pressure decreases your risk of Heart Attack or Stroke. 

Peripheral Vascular Disease

In Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), fatty deposits cause a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels beyond those of the heart and brain. It occurs most often in the pelvis and legs, where early symptoms can include pain and fatigue when walking or climbing stairs. But more serious symptoms can occur if PVD goes untreated. Most PVD can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication, otherwise surgery may be considered. Our vascular surgeons specialize in treating PVD.

Valvular Heart Disease

The heart has four valves that help to keep blood flowing in one direction through the chambers of the heart. In Valvular Heart Disease, one or more of these valves is damaged or defective, allowing blood to leak back into the chamber it just left. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and palpitations. A wide range of treatments is available, including repair or replacement of the damaged valve(s).