Gregory Freeman, MDCardiology
Kevin Kniery, MDVascular Surgery
Michael Kwan, MDCardiology
The experts at our Heart and Vascular Institute are trained to treat the entire range of heart conditions – from common to complex.
Cardiovascular Diseases We Treat
- Coronary heart disease: This occurs when the arteries become clogged with plaque, a combination of fat, cholesterol and other substances. When plaque clogs the arteries, less oxygen-rich blood can reach the heart.
- Heart valve disease: This occurs when one or more of the four valves in the heart don’t work properly. The valves have flaps that open and close when your heart beats. If the flaps aren’t working well, blood may leak back in the wrong direction or blood flow may be blocked from passing through.
The heart valve diseases we treat include:
- Aortic regurgitation
- Aortic stenosis
- Mitral regurgitation
- Mitral stenosis
- Tricuspid regurgitation
- Tricuspid stenosis
- Aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection: When an artery wall becomes weak, it may bulge out abnormally. This can happen in any artery in the body. When it happens in the aorta, the main artery in the heart, it is called an aortic aneurysm. This bulge can sometimes tear the lining of the aorta, which is called an aortic dissection.
- Arrhythmia: Also called an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm, this condition is caused by a disorder of the heart’s electrical system. Electricity regulates your heartbeat. When there’s a problem, the heart can beat too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm. The most common irregularity is called atrial fibrillation, or A.Fib.
- Heart block: When the electrical connection between the top and the bottom chambers is obstructed, it causes a heart block, or advanced degrees of heart block that will need to be treated with a pacemaker.
- Congenital heart defects: These are heart problems that some people are born with. There are many different types of congenital heart defects, with varying levels of severity. Our University Children’s Health Heart Center is the only dedicated pediatric heart center in South Texas.
- Heart failure: This occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to nourish the body. The heart may not be filling with enough blood, or the heart may not pump with enough force. While this is a serious condition, it doesn’t mean your heart has completely stopped working.
- Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy: This is a condition in which the walls of the heart muscle become too thick. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently. This genetic condition can block the normal flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body. We are a Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association Recognized Center of Excellence.
- Peripheral vascular disease: Also known as peripheral arterial disease, this condition happens when plaque builds up in the artery and causes narrowing, a blockage in an artery.
When you learn you have heart failure, the path forward can seem daunting. Our heart failure specialists are here to walk with you down the road to a healthier heart.
Determining the cause of heart failure is the first step toward finding the right treatment. At the Heart and Vascular Institute, our patients have access to highly trained heart failure cardiologists who will pinpoint the cause using advanced diagnostic testing, including genetic testing, cardiac MRI, sleep studies, both exercise and pharmacologic nuclear stress testing, and echocardiograms.
When we know the cause of heart failure, our comprehensive team of specialty cardiologists and cardiac surgeons will work with you on a plan to move forward with the best medical therapy available. Our doctors also work individually with all heart failure patients to help them enroll in our outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program.