Cardiology (Heart)

Heart problems can be quite complex and challenging to manage, which is why we have assembled a team of caring professionals to help guide you through diagnosis, treatment, and regaining your health. At Sentara Albemarle Medical Center we don’t treat conditions we treat our patients and their families. By blending our modern technology with the compassion of our caregivers, we are able to offer extraordinary care close to home.

The heart is an amazing organ, but it can be tough to comprehend the various parts and functions. Check out the How Your Heart Works page for more information.

If you are new to the area and are looking for a cardiologist, you can find one on our Find a Physician section. Heart disease does not prefer one race or sex; it can strike at any time, which is why it is important to know your risk.  Please do not wait until you have a life threatening problem to seek the guidance of our experts and learn the risk factors for heart disease. Click here to complete a free Heart Attack Risk Assessment that you can share with your doctor.

Contributing factors to cardiovascular disease that you can change, or at least control:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Birth control
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • Physical inactivity

 Other factors that could increase risks for cardiovascular disease:

  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Gender

Treatments for Cardiovascular Disease

  • Medications - Medication can help reduce symptoms of angina either by improving the supply of oxygen to the heart muscle and/or by reducing the heart’s need for oxygen. Medications do not eliminate existing coronary blockages.
  • Angioplasty - Angioplasty is commonly referred to as the “balloon” procedure. A catheter with a deflated balloon on the tip is inserted into the narrowed part of the artery. When the balloon is inflated, it compresses the plaque and enlarges the blood vessel so blood can flow more easily.
  • Stent -This procedure uses a wire mesh tube (a stent) to prop open an artery that’s recently been widened using Angioplasty. The stent collapses, gets placed over the balloon catheter. Together, it is moved into the area of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a scaffold to hold the artery open.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (Open Heart Surgery) - During bypass surgery, surgeons take a blood vessel from another part of the body and construct a detour around the blocked part of the coronary artery. Blood can then use this new path to once again flow freely to the heart muscle.