Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, more than 10,000 people lose their lives to cardiovascular disease. But the pioneering health care professionals at University of Louisville Physicians - Cardiovascular Medicine, formerly known as University Medical Associates, are working to reverse those trends, and help you and your loved ones live longer, healthier lives.
Our cardiology practice takes pride in being able to offer you the most advanced treatments available, with the widest range of procedures possible. Our Louisville cardiology doctors are dedicated to using their knowledge, skill and experience to improve the quality of your health, because we believe that technology is best when it can help you enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
A longtime leader in cardiology, UofL Physicians offers some of the most advanced heart care available. All of the cardiologists within the practice are on the faculty of University of Louisville School of Medicine, bringing to their patients the innovative technology through the research conducted within the university.
Many of our physicians are members of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, which was formed by the University of Louisville in 2001 and has become a leading program in cardiovascular research both nationally and internationally. Under the direction of Dr. Roberto Bolli, the Institute has made extraordinary contributions in many fields, particularly myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, cardioprotection, environmental cardiology, diabetes, heart failure, stem cells, and regenerative cardiology. Recently, the Institute has performed SCIPIO, the first study of cardiac stem cells in humans.
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Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart and blood vessels. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include: diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart failure; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); heart valve problems (narrowing or leaks of the valves); heart infections; heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects); and heart tumors.
The term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart's muscle, valves or beating rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. The UofL Physicians cardiology practice can diagnose and treat all of the diseases that affect your heart.
Common conditions we treat include:
Heart attack (coronary thrombosis, myocardial infarction): When the heart muscle, or myocardium, stops functioning due to loss of blood flow, nutrients or electric signal.
Coronary artery disease (CAD): atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries.
Angina: chest pain.
Arrhythmia: irregular heartbeat.
Atrial fibrilation: fast and irregular heartbeat.
Cardiomyopathy: a weak or enlarged heart muscle.
Congestive heart failure: a decrease in the heart’s pumping ability.
Atherosclerosis: narrowed and hardened blood vessels through plaque buildup.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD): occurs when arteries outside the heart and brain become blocked.
Stroke: affects the arteries leading to and within the brain.
Carotid artery disease: atherosclerosis in the arteries that supply blood to the brain.
Endocarditis: infection of the heart’s inner lining (endocardium) and valves.
High blood pressure/hypertension: high blood pressure directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack), stroke, heart failure and kidney failure, especially when combined with other risk factors.
Hypercholesterolemia/Hyperlipidemia: Chronic high levels of cholesterol in the blood, largely exacerbated by diet.
Narrowed and leaky heart valves; for example, Mitral valve prolapse, aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis and more.
Congenital or acquired structural heart diseases; for example, holes in the heart and more.
The clinical services at the UofL Physicians cardiology practice provide an interdisciplinary approach to cardiac and vascular disease with multiple lines of programs intended to provide not only the latest medical, surgical and minimally invasive therapeutic modalities, but also to advance knowledge toward unlocking the mechanisms that underlie cardiovascular disease processes, and thereby, provide the innovation required to make the leap from the bench to the bedside.
UofL Physicians-Cardiovascular Medicine embraces a multi-faceted approach to heart care. The group features subspecialists who are leaders in:
- Coronary intervention
- Peripheral intervention
- Structural heart disease
- 2-D and 3-D echocardiography
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
- Stress echocardioliography
- Nuclear cardiology
- Arrhythmia and electrophysiology
- Acute and chronic heart failure
- Cardiac CT
- Cardiac MRI
- Women’s cardiovascular health
- Adult congenital heart disease
- Preventive cardiology
- Cholesterol and lipids
The diversity of the group makes UofL Physicians - Cardiovascular Medicine the practice of choice for the diagnosis and treatment of the region’s most challenging cases.
Our cardiology programs include:
Invasive and Interventional Cardiology
Coronary Artery Disease or CAD is the leading cause of death worldwide in both men and women. ULP-Cardiovascular Medicine specialists have 25 years of combined experience in the diagnosis and management of patients with CAD. We perform more than 1,500 diagnostic coronary angiograms and more than 400 percutaneous coronary interventions every year. We specialize in all aspects of catheter-based therapies, including angioplasties, stents and atherectomies. Our cardiologists participate in primary angioplasty programs at the area hospitals where a patient is taken to the cardiac catheterization laboratory emergently during a heart attack. We have expertise in utilizing latest technology, such as the Impella Heart assist device to support a failing heart.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is one of several terms used to describe partial or complete blockage in one or more arteries outside of the heart. It is estimated that more than 8 million Americans have some form of PAD. It is being increasingly recognized as a major risk factor for the presence of concomitant CAD that can be fatal if unrecognized. PAD might manifest as a stroke if it involves the carotid or cerebral arteries or as leg pains if present in the lower extremities.
We at UofL Physicians are well-trained in the diagnosis and management of PAD. We have all the imaging tools, including CT scan, MRI, ultrasound and angiography to diagnose the condition and treat it by angioplasty, atherectomy or stents. We collaborate closely with our vascular surgery and radiology colleagues to reach a well-thought-out plan in the treatment of this complex group of patients.
Adult Structural Heart Disease
The cardiologists of University of Louisville Physicians-Cardiovascular Medicine are experts at the diagnosis and treatment of adult congenital and acquired anomalies of the heart. By offering consultative and diagnostic services to patients and their families, we can provide a comprehensive and definitive treatment plan. Our interventional and surgical team is made up of a team of specialist nurses, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons dedicated to addressing disorders of the heart with minimally invasive methods.
We offer services in the ambulatory clinic to evaluate the patients and coordinate their testing, risk assessment and therapy. We have the latest diagnostic tools, including echocardiography, CT scan and cardiac MRI, to diagnose the conditions and the expertise to treat them with catheter-based or surgical therapies.
Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant
The University of Louisville Physicians– Cardiovascular Medicine practice has partnered with Jewish Hospital to develop the Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Center. The center offers clinical care and support to patients with advanced heart failure and those patients with heart failure who are candidates for heart transplantation. Our team provides a multifaceted approach that includes not only the latest innovative treatments for heart failure, but also innovative clinical applications of basic science, homodynamic, genetic and clinical research pertaining to cardiomyopathy, heart failure and cardiac transplantation.
Our team includes renowned clinicians, clinician scientists and cardiothoracic surgeons who combine both medical and surgical therapies to treat patients with advanced and end-stage heart failure. We provide novel clinical research programs that utilize medical and mechanical cardiac device-related therapies for patients with cardiomyopathy or advanced heart failure.
Our treatment goal is to provide symptomatic relief for patients, attenuation of the underlying disease’s progression and, if required, a mechanical bridge to heart transplantation.
Not only are we one of the highest volume heart transplant centers in the United states, we are also one of the primary centers in the United States specializing in the surgical placement of ventricular assist devices (VADs), providing both bridging and destination therapies for patients with advanced and end-stage heart failure.
Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia
The body relies on a natural electrical system to create heart muscle contractions, which cause blood to flow in and out of the heart. Normally, electricity flows throughout the heart in a regular pattern. But if a problem occurs along the electrical pathway, the heart rhythm (or beat) can become too slow, too fast or irregular. More than 4 million Americans have an irregular heartbeat, also known as cardiac arrhythmia.
We offer a complete spectrum of consultative and diagnostic services to provide patients and their families with a treatment plan related to heart rhythm abnormalities. These tests may include an electrocardiogram (ECG), a Holter monitor or event monitor, an exercise stress test, a tilt table test, cardiac imaging with nuclear, echo, MRI and CT scans, or a diagnostic electrophysiologic (EP) study.
Once a diagnosis and treatment plan has been reached, the therapeutic plan is discussed with the patient, their family and their referring physician. We are committed to following you longitudinally for all or your arrhythmia concerns and continued patient education.
Our experts are equipped with a full complement of therapeutic options including:
- Electrical cardioversion
- Implantation of cardiac electrical devices including Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy
- Complex ablation of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), ventricular tachycardia (VT), and atrial fibrillation (AF)
- Complex lead management and laser lead extraction
Center for Heritable Arrhythmias and Sudden Death
Our experts work with a multidisciplinary team to include cardiologists and genetic counselors to address inherited forms of heart disease that can lead to sudden cardiac death. These include but are not limited to arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Brugada syndrome, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachcyardia (CPVT) and Long QT syndrome. A variety of diagnostic testing is available, including genetic testing. Our team will work with your family to provide recommendations for screening and treatment, so that you can get back to your normal daily activities as soon as possible.
Adult Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center
Adult hypertrophic cardiomyopathies (HCM) often affects individuals and families with variable levels of severity. HCM occurs when the heart muscle cells thicken, which leads to thickening of the walls of the heart. Unlike the thickening of the heart that occurs with chronically elevated blood pressure, HCM is a condition that the patient (and often the patient’s family) is genetically predisposed to developing. HCM is rare (affecting 0.2% of the population) and is often undetectable early in life, when symptoms are absent. However, HCM can manifest early in life and may present as one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death in the young. It remains the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
The University of Louisville Physicians–Cardiovascular Medicine practice is focused on patients afflicted with this cardiomyopathy. Our team offers consultative and diagnostic services to provide patients and their families with a definitive treatment plan.
Our service offers interaction with genetic counselors, specialist nurses, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and includes evaluation, testing and screening of HCM. We have the latest imaging tools including 2D and 3D echocardiography, cardiac MRI, CT scan and genetic testing. Once a diagnosis is made, we have the experts to treat the condition with catheter-based or surgical therapies.
Adult Hypertensive Disease
Hypertension is a major health problem, especially because it has no symptoms. Many people have hypertension without knowing it. In the United States, about 50 million people age 6 and older have high blood pressure. Hypertension is more common in men than women and in people over the age of 65. More than half of all Americans over the age of 65 have hypertension.
The UofL Physicians–Cardiovascular Medicine’s Hypertensive Disease Clinic is designed to care for patients with primary and secondary forms of hypertension and advanced hypertension, particularly complicated refractory cases. Cases such as these require a multifaceted approach and an expertise in pertinent imaging modalities focused on diagnostic and prognostic management of advanced hypertension.
Our physicians are board certified in both cardiovascular disease and hypertension and specializes in the evaluation of specific genetic and other clinical markers that determine the progression of hypertensive organ dysfunction, a patient’s heightened cardiovascular risk and the evolution and progression of hypertensive hypertrophic heart disease. Our clinical team works with patients and their families to determine on blood pressure goals and to develop an individualized treatment plan. Actual combinations of medications and lifestyle changes will vary from one person to the next. Treatment to lower blood pressure may include changes in diet, getting regular exercise, and taking antihypertensive medications.