Cardiologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels, such as chest pain (angina), irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, heart failure, or heart attacks.

Cardiologists administer tests that indicate how well a person’s heart is working, such as a treadmill test (exercise electrocardiogram), and perform procedures such as cardiac catheterization and angioplasty. They can further specialize in interventional cardiology (the use of mechanical treatment methods, such as angioplasty) or electrophysiology (treatments involving the heart’s electrical system).

Cardiologists on the staff of United Regional diagnose and treat the following:

To find a cardiologist at United Regional, please visit the Physician Directory, or contact United Regional Call-a-Nurse at 940-764-8570 or 800-982-9799.

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a build-up of plaque in one or both of the main arteries of the neck. The carotid arteries are vital as they feed oxygen-rich blood to the brain. When plaque builds up in the carotid arteries, they begin to narrow and slow down blood flow, potentially causing a stroke if blood flow stops or plaque fragments travel to the brain.

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, also known as a brain attack. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases, with 427,000 new diagnoses of the disease made every year in the United States alone.

Treatment options for carotid artery disease depend upon the severity of the overall patient condition and symptoms. Moderate disease may not require an interventional procedure, as some individuals can manage the disease with medications and lifestyle changes. More severe blockages may require surgery. In addition to the traditional treatment options, United Regional offers the TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) procedure – a clinically proven, less-invasive treatment option for patients with carotid artery disease who are at risk for open surgery.

While any repair of the carotid artery carries some risk of causing a stroke because of the repair itself, TCAR was designed to help minimize that risk by keeping potential stroke causing fragments away from the brain. TCAR utilizes temporary flow reversal during direct, transcarotid stent placement to provide neuroprotection in a more efficient and less invasive approach.

Like the open surgery, carotid endarterectomy (CEA), this new procedure involves direct access to the carotid artery, but through a much smaller incision at the neckline just above the clavicle instead of a longer incision on the neck. The entire procedure is performed in less than half the time of CEA – limiting the stress on the heart and significantly cutting the risk of the patient having a stroke or heart attack during the procedure.

Patients who undergo the TCAR procedure recover quickly and return to full and productive lives with less pain, smaller scars and a reduced risk of future strokes.