Heart and Vascular Center

Specific Cardiac Defects

St. Joseph Hospital’s highly skilled team has the proven expertise to care for patients with many types of cardiac defects:

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease causes a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle. When fatty substances called plaque are deposited in the inner lining of an artery, the artery is narrowed, restricting or blocking blood flow. The rupture of this plaque can cause a heart attack and subsequent chest pain. St. Joseph Hospital offers the latest therapies and treatments for coronary artery disease, from lifestyle management to the most advanced open-heart surgery techniques.

Valvular Disease

The heart's valves open and close to keep blood flowing properly, with oxygenated blood flowing into the heart and blood needing oxygen flowing out. Valve disease occurs when the heart's valves do not function properly. Some disorders cause stenosis (narrowing) or obstruction of the valves, which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body. Other valve disorders are characterized by the inability of valves to close completely. This regurgitation or insufficiency disorder allows blood to leak back through the valve into the heart.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is a heart defect that occurs during fetal development in the uterus. About one out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, which can involve one or more heart structures or blood vessels around the heart. In most cases, the cause of the defect is unknown, but research has suggested that congenital heart disease may be the result of a genetic abnormality or if the developing fetus is exposed to certain medications, toxic substances, alcohol or drugs. During the past few decades revolutionary advances in medical and surgical care for congenital heart disease have resulted in excellent outcomes. This means that children treated for a congenital heart defect have now reached adulthood. Many of these patients are leading full, productive lives and have children of their own. In fact, the number of adult patients with congenital heart disease is now greater than those under age 20. Today at least half a million adults in the United States have congenital heart disease. Click here for more.

Atrial Fibrillation

During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two small upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results. About 15 percent of strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation. The likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age. Three to five percent of people over 65 have atrial fibrillation.