Cardiovascular Resources

At West Boca Medical Center, we provide resources that can help you navigate your heart journey. Whether you’re suffering from arrhythmia, coronary artery disease or any other heart condition, we’re here for you and are ready to help you connect with the doctors and health professionals who can provide the high-quality, safe care you deserve.

See a Cardiovascular Specialist

If you are experiencing chest pain, irregular heartbeat or other symptoms of a heart condition, please do not delay care. At West Boca Medical Center, we have a team of compassionate experts who can help you stay on top of your heart health journey before more significant health risks occur. Speak with a cardiovascular specialist in Boca Raton, FL today to help you learn the source of your heart problem.

Find a Cardiologist

How a Healthy Heart Works

The heart is about the size of a person's fist. This muscular organ is at the center of the circulatory system, which consists of a network of blood vessels, such as arteries, veins and capillaries.

The heart’s main job is to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body after it pumps the oxygen-poor blood from the lungs in a cycle that flows from the body to the heart, from the heart to the lungs, from the lungs to the heart and from the heart to the body.

The nervous and endocrine systems make up the electrical system of the heart. This complex system controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. When disease or injury weakens the heart, the other organs in the body don’t receive enough blood to work normally. Conditions affecting the nervous and endocrine systems may make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

What Are the Three Warning Signs or Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is a group of heart and blood vessel disorders associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death and disability globally. In some cases, cardiovascular diseases may be "silent" and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs and symptoms of heart conditions such as heart attack, heart failure or arrhythmia.

  • Heart attack: chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness and shortness of breath

  • Arrhythmia: fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations)

  • Heart failure: shortness of breath, fatigue or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or neck veins

What Is Cardiovascular Medicine?

Cardiovascular medicine refers to the branch of heart health care that specializes in the treatment of diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels, such as:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Coronary artery disease, including angina and heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve problems
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Stroke

What Are Cardiovascular Services?

Cardiovascular services refer to the branch of medicine that focuses on simple to complex conditions that affect the cardiovascular system. It involves cardiovascular testing and treatments, such as angioplasty, artificial heart valve surgery, atherectomy, bypass surgery, minimally invasive heart surgery and stent procedures.

Physicians treating cardiovascular diseases may include cardiologists, vascular surgeons, cardiac surgeons and primary care doctors. Nurse practitioners or physician assistants, nutritionists or dietitians are other health care providers who may also be part of the team.

What to Expect at a Cardiologist Appointment

A cardiologist may request imaging tests, review a patient’s medical history and collect information about a person’s weight, heart, lungs, blood pressure and blood vessels for further testing.

Imaging tests to diagnose, monitor or treat cardiovascular diseases may include the following:

  • Cardiac computed tomography (CT)
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Coronary angiography
  • CT angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan of the heart
  • Stress tests
  • Vascular ultrasound, such as carotid ultrasound
  • Venous ultrasound of the arms and legs

Treatment and Surgeries

Not all treatments for cardiovascular diseases are invasive. With today's technology, doctors may recommend minimally invasive procedures to diagnose, monitor or treat heart and vascular system disorders, such as the following:

  • Ablation therapy - treats cardiac arrhythmias
  • Angiogram - uses X-rays and injected contrast dye to evaluate blood vessels
  • Angioplasty (with or without stent placement) - uses a small balloon to open a narrowing in a blood vessel
  • Cardiac catheterization - measures pressure in and around the heart

Other surgical procedures to treat or diagnose heart or blood vessel disorders include the following:

  • Heart transplant
  • Insertion of pacemakers or defibrillators
  • Open and minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Repair or replacement of heart valves
  • Surgical treatment of congenital heart defects
  • Arterial bypass grafts
  • Endarterectomies
  • Repair of aneurysms (dilated/enlarged portions) of the aorta and its branches

Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation, or cardiac rehab, is a medically supervised and customized program that involves exercise training, education on heart-healthy living and counseling to reduce stress.

Cardiac rehab is a team effort that involves the patient and a medical team of doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians or nutritionists and mental health specialists. The program may start while the patient is still in the hospital or right after discharge and may last up to three months and include the following:

  • Cardiovascular risk assessments
  • Health screenings and wellness exams
  • Nutrition and lifestyle counseling, including smoking cessation and diabetes education
  • Supervised exercise

Who Is Eligible for Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Anyone who has experienced a cardiovascular event such as heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary intervention is encouraged to register for a cardiac rehab program.

If you are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, seek medical attention immediately or schedule a screening to confirm a diagnosis. Please do not delay care.

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