Cardiovascular care in Charleston, SC
Your heart’s in good hands at Trident Health’s Heart Center. Whether you're at risk for heart disease or have experienced a major cardiac event, our specialists will be with you every step of the way, from screening and diagnosis to treatment and rehab.
For more information or to talk with one of our cardiologists, you can schedule an appointment.
Types of cardiovascular disease we treat
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Cardiovascular disease, commonly referred to as heart disease, is a general term used for various ailments of the heart and the blood vessels surrounding the heart. These conditions can be quite severe and often require medical attention from trained specialists.
Most types of cardiovascular disease deal with the hardening and clotting of arteries. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes in their most serious form. Our team is equipped to treat patients with a variety of heart diseases, including:
A heart attack occurs when one or more blood vessels to the heart are blocked, depriving the heart of oxygen. Symptoms can be mild or severe and can strike suddenly or build over time. The most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, but not everyone who has a heart attack experiences it.
Chest pain can feel different and vary from person to person. Many people think they have indigestion or some other minor ailment.
Signs of a heart attack can include:
- Chest pain (may be described as discomfort, pressure, ache, burning or fullness. It may also start or worsen with exercise or be relieved with rest or nitroglycerin)
- Pain in the back, jaw, and other upper body areas (the pain might go away and come back)
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up)
- Anxiety or a sense of dread
- A cough
- Weakness or fatigue
- A fast heart rate
Heart attack signs in women
Women may have no chest pain. They are likely to have more subtle symptoms such as:
- Pain in the jaw or upper back
- Shortness of breath
Staff at Trident Health System's emergency rooms are trained to diagnose heart attacks quickly and treat patients using advanced technology and expertise.
A heart attack is serious and potentially fatal. If you or a loved one is experiencing any symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Heart failure occurs when the heart doesn't pump blood efficiently. If left untreated, it can be dangerous, but treatments can improve heart failure signs and symptoms and help you live longer.
Treatments include medication, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery to help the heart pump more efficiently.
Trident Medical Center has adhered to 75 percent or higher in select quality measures in heart failure.
An arrhythmia is a problem with the way the heart beats. There are different arrhythmia types in which the heart can beat too fast or too slowly or have an irregular rhythm. It's caused by problems in the electrical signals that control your heartbeat.
At Trident Medical Center's electrophysiology lab, heart specialists can analyze those electrical systems, diagnose the problem and actually treat the problem in the lab using catheters with electrodes.
Peripheral arterial disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects 8 million Americans and can have serious consequences if not treated. It is caused by deposits of fatty material in the lining of artery walls in the arms, legs and feet. Those fatty deposits, called plaque, reduce blood flow.
Over time, as PAD worsens, you may be unable to walk, and if left untreated, it could lead to amputation. PAD also puts you at a greater risk for a heart attack.
Treatment options for PAD
Based on your condition's severity, we will recommend treatments ranging from simple lifestyle changes to surgery.
Some treatments include using medications to thin the blood, using balloon angioplasty to compress the plaque in the artery or implanting a stent to keep the artery open for increased blood flow.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to open narrowed arteries by using a bypass to detour blood around the blocked artery or remove plaque from the affected artery.
Heart screening and imaging
In order to properly diagnose a heart problem, we use a number of different heart tests to get a complete picture of your condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Our radiologists and cardiologists are specially trained in cardiac imaging so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.
- 64-slice computerized tomography (CT) scanner—One of the most advanced cardiac diagnostic tools available today, a CT scan creates a 3D picture of the heart, giving a clear and immediate view of the entire heart.
- Angiogram—Sometimes called a CCTA, it is a cardiac imaging study that is performed on a 64-slice CT scanner. The purpose of a CCTA is to visualize the coronary arteries and assess for narrowing and atherosclerosis.
- Echocardiogram—Echocardiography uses sound waves to produce images of your heart, letting your doctor see how the heart is working. The images can help them diagnose such conditions as blood clots, problems with the aorta and issues with the heart valves.
The IAC has accredited Trident and Summerville Medical Centers in adult transesophageal and adult transthoracic echocardiography.
Trident Medical Center's cardiac catheterization lab allows doctors to perform minimally invasive tests and procedures to diagnose and treat heart disease.
Our specialists use tiny tubes called catheters to access the heart and blood vessels. They use special imaging devices to see how well blood is flowing to and from the heart. This allows them to find problems and treat them with small incisions that minimize recovery time.
Valves help direct the flow of blood through your heart. When they aren't working correctly, you may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, rapid weight gain from water retention or chest pressure/pain.
The Valve Clinic makes early evaluation and monitoring of valve disease a top priority. Our program evaluates patients with valve disease and effectively treats symptoms to preserve the function of their heart.
Our valve team will include a cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon. They will determine a treatment plan for your valve condition. Your initial evaluation includes:
- A comprehensive medical history
- Physical examination
- Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)
- Discussion of test results and treatment plan options
The Valve Clinic is located on the first floor of Trident Medical Center. It is open on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Trident Health System offers a complete range of heart and vascular surgeries, including:
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
- Heart valve replacement
- Implantable cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers
- Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC)
- MAZE/arrhythmia surgeries
- Minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve repair and replacement
- Minimally invasive endoscopic vein harvesting
- Repair of adult congenital heart lesions
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
Cardiac rehabilitation allows heart patients to begin a safe exercise program while their heart rhythms and rates are monitored and assessed by medically trained staff.
The cardiac rehab program at Summerville Medical Center encourages healthy lifestyle changes through an individualized treatment plan addressing nutritional, psychological and physical deficits.
Our goal is to help patients return to their prior level of function, improve heart strength and prevent further damage to the blood vessels.