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Heart Disease Prevention and Treatment

Reducing your risk for heart attack is within your grasp if you improve your lifestyle and habits. At St. John’s, helping patients manage cardiac disease in their daily lives is one of our goals. The time to act is before you have a heart attack.  

Small Lifestyle Choices Can Make a Big Difference

  • Exercise more – Exercise helps you maintain your cholesterol, lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. Try to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, each day.
  • Lose weight – Losing even five to 10 pounds can lower your total cholesterol and lessen your risk for heart disease.
  • Cut back the fat – High-fat diets are notorious for causing cholesterol levels to rise.
  • Eat more soluble fiber – Such fiber can be found in fruit, beans, peas and other legumes and oats.
  • Eat two to three servings (3 to 4 ounces) of baked or broiled fish per week – Darker-fleshed fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, salmon and halibut have more omega-3 oils, which help lower blood triglycerides.
  • Quit smoking – Smoking cigarettes may lower “good” cholesterol by as much as 15 percent, according to the Mayo Clinic. By quitting, your “good” cholesterol may return to its higher level.
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs – If none of these tips helps you succeed, or if you are at higher risk for heart disease, you may want to discuss the possibility of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. Talk to your doctor to find a plan that’s right for you.

Treatments for Heart Disease

The cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and vascular surgeons at St. John's offer a range of diagnostic, interventional, and surgical treatment options to address your heart and vascular conditions.

Non-Invasive Heart Care

We provide non-invasive cardiology testing, which aids in the detection of many heart conditions using technology, such as ultrasound or nuclear scans. This allows us to identify the potential for future heart and vascular problems. Tests might include stress tests, treadmill testing, Holter monitors, pacemaker analysis, echocardiograms, or electrocardiograms.

Heart and Peripheral Vascular Interventions

St. John's offers diagnostic procedures, medical management, and non-surgical interventions for the treatment of heart disease. When faced with a serious heart condition, however, surgery may be needed. Our team of heart surgeons and registered nurses specialize in open-heart surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, valve repair, and adult congenital abnormalities.

Beating Heart Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (also known as beating heart surgery or off-pump surgery) is a less invasive heart surgery offered at St. John’s that can fix problems with heart vessels or valves. This procedure eliminates the use of a heart-lung machine during open-heart surgery, allowing doctors to operate on a still beating heart. Patients who have the off-pump procedure have a lower risk of pulmonary, kidney, and brain complications, which also reduces the risk of declining mental ability.

Valve Repair and Valve Surgery

Our experienced surgeons perform minimally invasive mitral valve repair, the newest innovation in heart treatment. This allows heart valves to be repaired, meaning the heart valve is tailored so it can work better, or replaced with an entirely new valve. 

Minimally Invasive Valve Repair

If you are undergoing an aortic or mitral valve procedure, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive valve surgery. Instead of performing a full sternal (chest) split incision, the aortic and mitral valve can be operated on through a small incision between the ribs in the right side of your chest. Discuss your options with your doctor. Benefits of this procedure include decreased pain and complications after surgery, significantly less scarring, and faster recovery times.

Endovascular Repair Surgery

St. John's offers endovascular repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), a procedure that allows repair of the aneurysm through a minimally invasive technique. In this procedure, a stent is inserted into the abdominal aorta through two small incisions in the groin, eliminating the need for opening the abdomen surgically. This limits the patient’s discomfort and shortens recovery time.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Regardless of how successful your surgery, you will need some level of cardiac rehabilitation following any heart intervention. Our program is a safe way to help you feel better faster, get stronger, reduce stress, reduce the risk of future heart problems, and promote an understanding of heart disease.  

For a cardiologist at St. John’s, call (805) 201-0468, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.