Heart care in southwest Virginia
LewisGale Regional Health System's hospitals consistently rank among the top in the nation for evidence-based heart care that's proven to provide our patients with the best outcomes possible. We are also the only health system in southwest Virginia with fully Accredited Chest Pain Centers at all of our hospitals.
Our cardiologists and vascular specialists treat a wide range of conditions and provide a full spectrum of care, from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and recovery. So, when you need cardiac care, you can trust us with your heart.
For more information about cardiac care at LewisGale Regional Health System, contact Consult-A-Nurse® at (877) 242-2362.
Accredited Chest Pain Centers
From the moment you feel chest pain, our team of heart experts takes control of the situation, making rapid and collaborative decisions about your care all the way from the ambulance to your hospital bedside.
That’s part of what it means to be an Accredited Chest Pain Center.
All of our hospitals have earned this distinction from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), which includes:
- LewisGale Medical Center
- LewisGale Hospital Montgomery
- LewisGale Hospital Pulaski
- LewisGale Hospital Alleghany
For patients, this means the highest level of care starts from the onset of heart attack symptoms. LewisGale Regional Health System follows the model set by the ACC for delivering care in a systematic manner. This means that multiple professionals, from emergency dispatchers and cardiac catheterization technologists to nurses and discharge staff, are involved in your care.
Certified Primary Stroke Center
LewisGale Medical Center is a Certified Primary Stroke Center, designated by The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Our designation means we staff qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care, are able to perform rapid laboratory testing, have a dedicated stroke-focused program and can administer intravenous clot-busting medication.
Heart conditions we treat
The experienced cardiovascular specialists at LewisGale Regional Health System treat nearly all types of heart and vascular conditions—from the most common to the most complex—including:
- Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
- Heart arrhythmias
- Atherosclerosis (disease of the blood vessels)
- Congenital heart disease
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Chest pain (angina)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Peripheral artery disease
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Valve disease
- Varicose veins
Heart screening and imaging
Noninvasive heart care, including heart screening and imaging procedures, at LewisGale Regional Health System, include CT (computed tomography) scanning, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging, PET (positron emission tomography) scanning and many more procedures.
Typically, noninvasive methods of care involve procedures or tools that do not break the skin or physically enter the body. Advances in technology continue to extend the range of noninvasive resources that contribute to effective heart care.
Heart and vascular surgery
Our cardiac and vascular specialists and surgeons offer advanced cardiovascular surgery for the heart, veins and arteries. We perform the latest minimally invasive procedures, as well as beating-heart (off-pump) bypass surgery, for fewer complications, less pain and scarring, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.
After surgery, our healthcare professionals and support staff provide skilled care in a healing environment at our inpatient cardiac surgical intensive care unit.
Our customized cardiac rehabilitation programs help get you back to healthy living after a heart event or diagnosis. You have access to exercise equipment and guidance by expert physiologists and specialists to help you create individualized exercise and nutrition plans, recognize symptoms of heart disease and reduce risk factors.
Heart health education
We offer a broad range of sophisticated, free and low-cost awareness programs, including employer programs to help employees learn risk factors, warning signs and treatment options for heart disease. Our facilities also provide resources to help you manage all aspects of heart disease.
In addition to cardiac care, LewisGale Regional Health System provides precise, expert vascular care. Vascular care focuses on conditions and diseases affecting the veins and arteries. Common vascular conditions may include atherosclerosis, varicose veins and peripheral artery disease.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Blockages in arteries of the body’s vascular system occurring outside the heart can lead to a condition called peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Most commonly, PAD affects the lower extremities, sometimes turning simple activities, like walking to the mailbox, into painful or impossible tasks.
Peripheral arterial disease, also called peripheral vascular disease, affects millions of Americans—most often men 50 years old or older. Like coronary artery disease, it’s a form of arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
In healthy individuals, the inner lining of arterial blood vessels is smooth, allowing the easy flow of oxygen-rich blood. PAD damages the vessel lining with a buildup of plaque—fatty deposits, such as cholesterol—which narrows or totally closes the artery. Over time, serious damage results from the insufficient supply of oxygen to muscles and tissues.
What causes PAD?
PAD results from the same risk factors that cause blocked arteries in the heart:
- Family history of heart disease or stroke
- Lack of physical activity
PAD impairs the vessels' ability to allow increased blood flow to muscles when needed, such as during exercise. The reduced blood flow may cause pain in the hips, buttocks or calves while walking or during physical activity that subsides when at rest.
Other symptoms of PAD affecting the lower extremities include:
- Decreased hair growth
- Shiny skin
- Ulcers or sores
- Tingling or numbness
- Coolness in the affected leg or foot
- Shrinking of the calf muscle
- Thickened toenails
An ankle-brachial index (ABI), the standard screening test for PAD, uses a special ultrasound stethoscope to compare blood pressure in the arm to blood pressure in the ankle. Lower blood pressure in the ankle implies a blockage between the heart and the leg and could indicate PAD.
If an ABI points to peripheral arterial disease, a noninvasive ultrasound test can provide images of vessel anatomy and blood flow to verify the diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes can often slow the progression of PAD. Medication may also help in managing the disease. Of the 2.5 million cases diagnosed, 2.1 million are managed medically. Severe cases may require intervention.
Before an artery can be cleared, the exact location of the blockage/narrowing must be determined with an arteriogram. After inserting a small needle and catheter into the artery, a safe dye is injected. Images are recorded as the dye flows down each leg, providing a road map of normal and abnormal arteries, which helps the physician determine the best therapy.
Treatment options are:
- Angioplasty—Uses a small balloon to dilate a narrow segment of an artery and is sometimes followed with stenting, which inserts a tiny metal cylinder (stent) into the vessel to support and hold it open
- Surgical bypass graft—Uses a vein grafted from another part of the body or a graft from artificial material to create a detour around a blocked artery
The best treatment for peripheral arterial disease depends on several factors, including overall health, location of the affected artery and the size and cause of the blockage or narrowing.