HeartOne℠, the heart and vascular program at Alaska Regional Hospital, provides specialty services for adult patients with conditions that affect their heart and blood vessels. Whether you are committed to a healthy lifestyle, at risk for cardiovascular disease or already struggling with a condition that affects your heart or blood vessels, we can help.
Heart and vascular care at Alaska Regional is coordinated by experts in the diagnostic, outpatient, inpatient and cardiac rehabilitation departments. Our team-based approach to patient care is complemented by state-of-the-art technologies.
Advanced heart care at Alaska Regional Hospital
The nationally recognized cardiac specialists at Alaska Regional Hospital are specially trained to provide advanced treatments for patients with heart conditions. The solutions they offer include life-changing surgeries and innovative procedures.
Here is an example: Several of our heart surgeons offer the Left Atrial Appendage Closure procedure to patients with atrial fibrillation. This procedure reduces the risk of blood clots that cause strokes in patients A-fib. To perform it, surgeons implant a device in the heart that permanently closes off a small pouch (the left atrial appendage), keeping blood clots from entering the bloodstream and traveling to the brain. Several companies provide these devices including Amulet, Coherex Wave Crest, and Watchman.
Cardiovascular conditions we treat
Our comprehensive program offers proven and innovative therapies for these conditions and more:
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- Chest pain management
- Structural or congenital heart defects
- Heart valve disease and disorders
- Vascular disease
- Irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias
Nationally recognized heart care at Alaska Regional
Alaska Regional consistently meets or exceeds stringent national standards, and demonstrates a higher level of expertise when caring for patients with heart disease. The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care has designated us with accreditations for atrial fibrillation, chest pain and heart failure. In fact, ours is the only hospital in Alaska to have earned all three accreditations.
For questions or comments about our cardiovascular services you can email us or call us at (907) 264-2332.
Cardiovascular diagnostic tests, procedures and treatments
A cardiac catheterization is performed to detect problems with the heart and its blood supply. A heart catheterization is generally performed after an individual experiences symptoms that could indicate heart problems, like chest pain. Cardiac catheterization allow doctors to:
- Identify narrowed or clogged arteries of the heart
- Measure blood pressure within the heart
- Evaluate how well the heart valves function
- Determine how well the four chambers of the heart function
- Check for congenital heart defects
- Evaluate an enlarged heart
- Decide on an appropriate treatment
Cardiac catheterization may not be recommended by our doctors if you have one or more of the following conditions, such as:
- Allergies to medications, shellfish or X-ray dye
- Pre-existing heart or lung conditions
- Serious recent or chronic illness
- Bleeding disorder
- Kidney disease
An electrocardiogram is used to diagnose heart conditions. An ECG, also called an EKG test, is a noninvasive test that records the electrical impulses that travel through your heart. This electrical activity determines the heart’s rate and rhythm.
The electrical waves recorded by the ECG can help your physician determines whether your heart is functioning normally or experiencing problems. The waves are registered by electrodes placed on the chest, arms and legs. Each electrode controls an ink needle that writes on a grid paper. The higher the intensity of the electric waves, the higher up the needle will move on the paper. The procedure typically takes about 15 minutes.
An ECG stress test is a type of ECG that is recorded during exercise, typically on a treadmill. During a stress test, your heart rhythm will be recorded while you exercise. The speed and slope of the treadmill will be slowly increased as you walk. The test will continue until you have reached a certain heart rate, certain ECG changes occur or you are too tired to continue, short of breath or have chest pain. This type of ECG typically lasts less than 30 minutes.
An electrophysiology study is a procedure that examines the heart’s electrical activity and pathways. During a cardiac electrophysiology study, the heart’s electrical activity is studied from inside the heart. The study can help determine specifically what the rhythm problem is and what can be done to treat it. Electrophysiology studies are conducted by an electrophysiology cardiologist, or electrophysiologist, a specially trained cardiologist.
An electrophysiology study may be performed for the following reasons:
- To diagnose the source of abnormally slow heart rhythms
- To diagnose the source of abnormally fast heart rhythms
- To provoke and diagnose heart arrhythmias that occur infrequently
- To reveal suspected arrhythmias
- To evaluate a person’s risk for sudden cardiac death
- To assess a person’s response to anti-arrhythmic therapy or the need for a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator
- To assess symptoms of unknown cause, including chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness/fainting
When performing an electrophysiology study, a catheter will be gently threaded through the artery and into your heart with the help of X-rays on a television screen. Electrodes located at the end of the catheter send electrical signals to your heart to make it beat at different speeds. These electrodes also receive electrical signals from your heart, so that your heart rhythm can be recorded to assess the presence of abnormalities.
ICDs are a lifesaving treatment for individuals with ventricular arrhythmias and those at high risk of developing them. An ICD is a small battery-operated device that is implanted in the chest and continuously monitors the heart’s rhythm. ICDs combine the function of a pacemaker with the function of an external defibrillator. If the heart slows or speeds up too much, the pacemaker element provides pacing to restore a normal heart rate. If the heart begins to beat in a disorganized fashion, the device provides a shock to restore normal rhythm.
Candidates for implantable cardioverter defibrillators have typically:
- Inherited conditions with high risk of ventricular tachyarrhythmia, like QT syndrome or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Survived one or more episodes of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
- Survived a heart attack, with high risk for future cardiac arrest
- An enlarged heart muscle that doesn’t function properly
- A high likelihood of developing sustained ventricular fibrillation or ventricular fibrillation
An implantable pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the heart rhythm or reproduce the rhythm. When performing a pacemaker surgery, the permanent pacemaker is implanted in the chest, under the skin.
A pacemaker is made up of two parts:
- Generator: contains the battery and the information to control the heartbeat
- Leads: wires used to connect the heart to the generator and send the electrical impulses to the heart to tell it to beat
Pacemakers are externally programmable and allow the cardiologist to select the optimum pacing modes for individual patients. The primary purpose of the procedure is to maintain an adequate heart rate.
Pacemakers of the heart may be implanted in people who have:
- Various types of second-degree and complete heart block
- Sinus bradycardia with significant symptoms
- Sinus node dysfunction
- Bradycardia associated with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter
- Recurrent and refractory ventricular tachycardia
- Prior experience with pacemaker syndrome
- Difficulty tolerating a single-chamber pacemaker
- Severe heart failure
2801 DeBarr Rd.
Anchorage, AK 99508
Our office hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm