Cardiovascular Medicine 

Heart disease is the greatest health risk faced by all Americans. When it comes to heart care, you need advanced prevention, diagnostics and treatment that is based on evidence proven to save lives and restore health.

West Boca Medical Center delivers it. We have experienced cardiologists who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of such disorders as angina, heart attack, heart failure, heart rhythm disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure) and valvular heart disease. Our cardiology facilities are well-equipped and offer these kinds of diagnostic testing:

TTE - Transthoracic echocardiogram: An echocardiogram is a test in which ultrasound is used to examine the heart. A brief examination done through the chest wall, with ultrasound may be done within 15 to 20 minutes. Echocardiography is capable of displaying a cross-sectional "slice" of the beating heart, including the chambers, valves and the major blood vessels that exit from the left and right ventricle. Echocardiography is extremely safe. There are no known risks from the clinical use of ultrasound during this type of testing.

ECHO - Transesophageal: An Echocardiogram where the echo transducer is passed down the esophagus your food pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach. Since the esophagus sits behind the heart, the echo beam does not have to travel through the front of the chest, avoiding many of the obstacles seen in a transthoracic echocardiogram, In other words, it offers a much clearer image of the heart, particularly, the back structures, such as the left atrium, which may not be seen as well by a standard echo taken from the front of the heart. This is more invasive.

CTA – CT Scan of the coronary arteries is used as a noninvasive method for detecting blockages in the coronary arteries. A CTA is a CT scan done to see the arteries with the injection of intravenous contrast it  can be performed much faster (in less than one minute) than a cardiac catheterization, with potentially less risk since there is no need to place a catheter in the artery, the dye starts in the vein just like any CT test.  There is less discomfort as well as decreased recovery time.

CT Coronary Calcium Core Study - Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called CT scan to check for the buildup of calcium and Plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart coronary arteries. This test is quick and easy and requires no injection of contrast material. It is used to check heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Coronary calcium scans are also called Cardiac Calcium scoring.

Nuclear Medicine Coronary Stress Test, or Lexiscan Stress - In this test, the doctor is looking at the heart muscle itself a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and the amount of radioactive material picked up (perfused) by the heart and is seen on the  Nuclear medicine camera, This Camera forms an image of the heart muscle. To see how your heart reacts under stress you will be asked to walk on a treadmill or given a chemical stressing agent that will simulate stress and show any muscle that is not getting blood flow on the picture.

Commitment to Quality

At West Boca Medical Center, we are committed to delivering the highest quality care possible to each of our patients. We strive to help patients achieve better outcomes, quicker recovery times, shorter hospital stays and ultimately, better health. As a result of our efforts, West Boca Medical Center has received numerous prestigious awards and accolades from trusted organizations including Healthgrades, The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. Click here to view our Quality Awards page >

Early Warning Signs of Heart Attack

Emergency Department

There are many different kinds of warning signs posted along streets, roads and highways. No passing zone, railroad crossing, merging traffic, divided highway, school zone, animal crossing, construction ahead, curves and corners, narrow bridge – the list goes on. Similar to these recognizable yellow and black traffic signs are warning signs for heart attacks. Becoming familiar with them could save your life, just like paying attention to warning signs when you are driving.

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in the flow of blood in an artery that leads to the heart. Part of the heart muscle is then damaged or destroyed because it does not receive enough oxygen. More than one million Americans have a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, every year. The key to surviving a heart attack is knowing the warning signs so you can get emergency medical treatment.

If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Do not try to drive yourself. Some of the early warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and then comes back. This pain may be severe and feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness that is not relieved by changing positions or resting.
  • Pain that extends to other areas of the body, such as the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath as well as lightheadedness, sweating, fatigue, fainting, nausea or vomiting.

It is important to remember that not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms or to the same degree. The warning signs of a heart attack for women may be slightly different than those for men. While both commonly experience chest pain or discomfort, women may be more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Some people may not have any symptoms at all, especially diabetics because that chronic condition can affect the nerves.

Warning signs of a heart attack can appear at any time, at rest or in motion, and at work or play. A heart attack may strike suddenly, but most people have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks beforehand. One of the earliest warning signs of an impending heart attack is chest pain, or angina, that occurs repeatedly because of exertion and is then eased by rest.

Early intervention for a heart attack is imperative to reduce damage to heart muscle. Clot-busting drugs can be administered and special procedures can be done to open up blood vessels. However, treatment works best when administered within an hour of the first symptoms of a heart attack. Survival will ultimately depend on how rapidly you receive treatment, how much damage there is to the heart, and the location of the damage.

For more information about early warning signs of heart attack, talk with your doctor or call 866-904-9262 for a free referral to a cardiologist near you.