If we detect cardiovascular disease, we have a comprehensive range of treatment programs to help you. For blocked arteries, our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory — unique in the Washington, D.C. area — treats more than 800 patients annually. But heart disease is about far more than blocked arteries.
We know this and are well versed in treating other cardiac diseases and disorders, including congestive heart failure, congenital heart defects, and arrhythmia.
Led by nationally recognized electrophysiologists using the latest tools and treatments, our electrophysiology department performs 400 procedures per year, implanting pacemakers and defibrillators, prescribing medication, and providing treatments that regulate heartbeat-helping you lead a full, healthy, more active life.
Half of individuals who have cardiac bypass surgery end up needing a second bypass surgery within ten years due to an additional build-up of plaque in the arteries. However, not all patients are candidates for repeat bypass procedures - particularly those who have diabetes, kidney problems or heart damage.
Angioplasty is an alternative treatment option, although it too has risks. Opening a clogged blood vessel and inserting a stent (a brace made of metal wiring that keeps the vascular wall from closing) can dislodge additional plaque, sending it downstream into smaller blood vessels. This can lead to angina and severe discomfort, or at worst, a potentially fatal heart attack.
Virginia Hospital Center is one of only a few medical centers in the region offering a new technology that eliminates this "down-stream effect." Known as SAFER (Saphenous Vein Graft Angioplasty Free of Emboli Randomized), the procedure involves the temporary inflation of a small balloon near the section of artery that's clogged. As plaque is surgically removed from the wall of the artery, the balloon blocks free-floating particles that might otherwise progress into smaller blood vessels. Once the particles have been sucked out, the balloon is deflated and removed.