What is heart disease?
Heart disease is a general term for a variety of diseases that affect your heart. Some heart disease conditions include:
- Atherosclerosis — a condition in which plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through
- Heart attack — happens when blood flow is blocked to part of the heart
- Heart failure — when the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should
- Arrhythmia — an abnormal heart rhythm
- Heart valve problems — valves may not open enough to let blood flow through (stenosis) or they may let blood leak through (regurgitation)
Heart disease prevention and wellness
Because heart disease can take so many forms, symptoms vary and you may not be diagnosed with any cardiovascular disease until your condition reaches the point that you have a heart attack or suffer cardiac arrest. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of cardiac diseases, and know the risk factors, so you stay on a path to heart health.
Anyone can have heart disease and not know it. It’s a disease that is more likely to affect us as we age, but it doesn’t limit itself only to older people.
Advanced heart care at Via Christi
At the forefront of cardiac care, Via Christi continues to invest in new technology and procedures as another way of improving patient care.
The Heart Valve Clinic at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita provides the expertise of a team of specialists who care for patients with cardiac valve disease. The team, which includes interventional, structural and electrophysiological cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, works with a patient's primary care physician to determine the best course of care for each patient. Structural cardiology deals with major defects of the heart that used to be limited to surgery. New advances in percutaneous or catheter-based procedures now enable life-saving care for patients who are not well enough for surgery.
Via Christi offers patients an array of leading-edge, non-invasive heart procedures as part of our comprehensive cardiac treatment services. These procedures include transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR; the MitraClip procedure for people with severe mitral regurgitation; and the LARIAT procedure, which can reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
The TAVR procedure is performed on some people who suffer from severe narrowing of the aortic valve opening, known as aortic stenosis. Candidates for TAVR have other health problems and are not well enough to undergo open heart surgery.
The MitraClip device is the first to allow mitral valve repair to be performed non-invasively, with a catheter. Until this device was approved, all mitral valve repair was done in open-heart surgery. The LARIAT procedure provides an alternative to surgery for patients with atrial fibrillation, which puts them at risk of suffering a stroke. By undergoing a LARIAT procedure, patients can stop using blood thinners without increasing their risk of stroke.
As part of its continuing investment in the latest technology, heart doctors perform many advanced procedures in the Hybrid Operating Room at St. Francis. The Hybrid OR combines the technology of a cardiac catheterization lab with an operating room facility. It also brings high-quality X-ray and other imaging techniques into the sterile environment of the OR. This allows minimally invasive procedures, such as TAVR and MitraClip, to be performed on patients whose health conditions prevent them from undergoing open heart surgery.