Aaron Abarbanell, MDThoracic Surgery
Allen Anderson, MDCardiology
Ildiko Agoston, MDCardiology Internal Medicine Nuclear Cardiology
We Treat Common and Complex Heart and Vascular DiseasesThe health of your heart and vascular system is critically important to your quality of life. Your ability to work and exercise, your energy level and appetite and dozens of other aspects of your daily activities are affected by your cardiovascular health. Many conditions that affect this critical system require early diagnosis and treatment to prevent serious, long-term complications.
Our Heart and Vascular Expertise
The Heart and Vascular Institute at University Health is led by highly trained cardiologists from UT Health San Antonio. Our experience treating adults and children with cardiovascular diseases is unmatched in South Texas.
Your heart requires oxygen-rich blood from the arteries and your organs rely on your heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
Life-threatening conditions like these result when those processes are compromised:
Heart AttackA heart attack happens when your heart can't get oxygen, caused by a blockage in the arteries that lead into it. Heart attacks tend to result from coronary artery disease, a buildup of plaque inside the coronary arteries. Plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis.
Heart FailureHeart failure, or congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn't pump blood efficiently. This creates a deficiency of oxygen and nutrients within your organs. Over time, the kidneys usually respond by causing the body to retain fluid and salt, creating congestion in the limbs. Narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure (hypertension) can weaken it or make it too stiff to fill and pump blood throughout your body.
Atrial FibrillationAtrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a condition in which the upper chambers of your heart beat irregularly (arrhythmia). This inefficiency allows blood to pool in the heart, often leading to blood clots that are then pumped out into your body. Atrial fibrillation is the leading cause of blood clots in the brain that cause stroke. For many, it’s effectively treated with the LARIAT procedure.
To confirm a diagnosis of AFib, our team of cardiac specialists perform a detailed history, a physical exam, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and you may be asked to use a heart rhythm (Holter) monitor at home. Additionally, an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) may be taken to check your heart’s size and function. Important lab tests are also conducted.
If diagnosed with AFib, our medical team at the Heart and Vascular Institute will work with you to determine a personalized treatment plan. We offer an advanced hybrid treatment method – a combination of catheter ablation and minimally invasive surgery with a success rate as high as 90%.
Atrial FlutterUnlike AFib, atrial flutter is a condition where your heart beats regularly but too quickly. Atrial flutter is a type of tachycardia. Atrial flutter makes it challenging for your heart to pump blood effectively. It can lead to congestive heart failure, heart attack or stroke.
Your heart is one of the strongest, most dependable muscles in your body. Abnormalities that affect the muscle often result in your heart’s ability to pump your blood efficiently throughout your body.
These conditions may be a result:
CardiomyopathyThis condition is caused by an abnormal heart muscle. The primary types of this condition are dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Each type makes it harder for your heart to deliver blood to the rest of your body. This can lead to heart failure.
MyocarditisThis condition refers to the inflammation of the middle layer of your heart wall (myocardium). Myocarditis is usually caused by a viral infection and creates chest pain, heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. At its most severe, myocarditis affects the pumping action of your heart.
Heart disease can cause kidney disease. Problems with your kidneys can cause problems with your heart.
This disease results from kidney dysfunction that leads to failure of the normal filtration process. As the kidneys fail to excrete the wastes from your blood adequately, they accumulate in your body. Over time, this condition leads to abnormal blood levels of fluids and electrolytes, acids, minerals and electrolytes and can lead to anemia.
This disease occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, obstructing blood flow to the rest of your body. As a result, your heart works harder to pump blood. If you have severe aortic valve stenosis, you may need surgery to replace the valve and may be a candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
We also treat a number of other aortic conditions at the South Texas Aortic Center, including:
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
- Aortic Arch Disease
- Aortic Dissection
- Acute Aortic Syndrome
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
This defect describes a hole in the wall between your two upper chambers of your heart. This condition is present from birth (congenital) and may close during infancy or early childhood. Lasting atrial septal defects can damage your heart and lungs over time and lead to a shortened life span.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
When the valve between your heart's left upper chamber and the left lower chamber doesn't close properly, you have a condition called mitral valve prolapse. This can cause blood to leak backward into the left atrium (mitral valve regurgitation). People with severe mitral valve prolapse require valve surgery.
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
Patent foramen ovale is a condition that occurs when a hole in the heart doesn’t close as it should after birth. Depending on the medical circumstances, patients may or may not require treatment for this type of congenital heart defect.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
This condition is similar to ASD and PFO as it describes a hole in your heart that is present when you’re born. While a small defect may close on its own, a larger VSD typically requires surgical repair early in life to prevent future complications.
Vascular diseases can include any disease of your arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.
The following conditions fall under the category of vascular diseases: