Heart and Vascular Center

310 North 10th Street, Bismarck ND 58501

The Heart and Vascular Center at CHI St. Alexius Health offers comprehensive treatment programs for diseases and conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Interventional cardiologists, radiologists and cardiovascular surgeons are specially trained in a variety of procedures including non-surgical or less invasive techniques and open surgeries. Non-surgical treatments use the latest technology for entering the arteries and repairing aneurysms or implanting stents. These procedures are on the cutting edge of technology and have saved many patients' lives who may not be able to undergo traditional open surgery. The medical field is ever changing, with new procedures introduced all the time. There are different methods of treating the diseases of the vascular system. Each patient's specific circumstances are taken into consideration. Together, the physician and patient choose the best option to treat the disease, whether it is a non-surgical procedure or an open operation.

Our team, comprised of expert physicians and staff members, are leaders in the region providing comprehensive healthcare in a technologically advanced, state-of-the-art environment. Our highly skilled specialists, together with the advanced technology here at the Heart and Vascular Center, offer an innovative method for treating cardiovascular and peripheral disease. The staff provides exceptional care with the state-of-the-art equipment, the latest in cutting-edge techniques, and continuing education.

The team at the Heart and Vascular Center includes invasive and non-invasive cardiologists, heart surgeons, vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists and other support personnel to offer a team approach in the care of patients with cardiovascular, lung and peripheral vascular diseases.

Diseases of the heart or blood vessels truly are a matter of life and death. It is important to know your risk factors, the warning signs and where to go for help.

We are dedicated to educating and caring for our patients through leading-edge treatments delivered by our skilled and compassionate team. Here, you can read about common cardiac, lung and vascular diseases, related tests and procedures, and our physicians to keep you informed.

HeartEach year, cardiovascular diseases top the list of the country's most serious health problems. That is why St. Alexius Medical Center has taken great strides in providing the best possible care for your heart. 

Everything from high-tech heart surgeries to minimal invasive procedures can be found right here at St. Alexius. You will find information about the heart, and ways to prepare for tests and procedures.

Cath Lab

  • Electrophysiology Study
  • RadioFrequency Ablation
  • Pacemaker
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
  • Cardiac Catheterization Lab Definitions
  • Coronary Angiography/Catheterization
  • Coronary Angioplasty Stent
  • Peripheral Angiography

VascularClogged arteries can lead to life-threatening strokes and mobility problems. Often, people do not realize they have a potentially dangerous vascular disease until it is too late.

CHI St. Alexius Health Heart and Vascular Center offers a full spectrum of services for detection, monitoring and treatment of circulatory disorders. Our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologist work closely together to choose the best treatment plan for each patient. Here you will find information on vascular conditions, procedures and tests performed in our cath lab.

Vascular Program

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - is a condition that affects approximately 12 million people in the United States. The disease occurs when there is an accumulation of plaque in the arteries, most commonly occurring in the legs and pelvis. The buildup of plaque in the arteries causes a narrowing of the artery, constricting normal blood flow to body tissue and organs. When left untreated, PAD increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. CHI St. Alexius Health Heart and Vascular Center has treated many patients with PAD. To reduce the serious risks associated with PAD, be sure to follow a healthy diet and follow a regular exercise program. Do not smoke, keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control, and be sure to get regular check ups if you have diabetes. The most common symptom of PAD is pain or cramping in the legs when walking. If left untreated, PAD could eventually lead to amputation. One of the newest and most advanced ways to treat PAD is plaque excision. 

    CHI St. Alexius Health Heart and Vascular Center was the first in Bismarck to perform the plaque excision procedure using the SilverHawk™ Plaque Excision System. Plaque excision is a minimally invasive procedure performed through a tiny puncture site in the leg or arm. The SilverHawk System uses a tiny rotating blade to shave away plaque from inside the artery. As it is removed, the plaque collects in the tip of the device and then is removed from the patient. This procedure proves to be a much easier alternative than previous methods. In the past, a "replacement artery" was often inserted to reroute the blood flow around the blocked segments of the artery.
     

  • Coronary Artery Disease - occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart (the coronary arteries) become hardened and narrowed. Hardening of the arteries happens because of plaque buildup called atherosclerosis. Eventually, the blood flow to the heart becomes reduced or cutoff, which can lead to a heart attack, or even heart failure. CAD is the most common type of heart disease and is the leading cause of death in the U.S in men and women. Preventive care is the key to reducing your chances of getting this disease and other vascular diseases. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, being overweight and lack of activity. Coronary artery disease is treated by an angioplasty procedure or coronary artery bypass surgery. The angioplasty procedure opens the blocked coronary arteries by using a stent. This improves blood flow and possibly prevents a heart attack. The coronary artery bypass surgery takes arteries or veins from other areas of the body and uses them to bypass the diseased artery.
     
  • Carotid Artery Disease - occurs when the main blood vessel to the brain, called the carotid artery, becomes blocked. Over time, the buildup narrows the artery, decreases the blood flow to the brain and can lead to a stroke. The process is similar to the buildup of plaque in arteries in the heart that cause heart attacks.Fortunately, you may be able to prevent or slow carotid artery disease. Quitting smoking is the most important change you can make to avoid this disease. Otherwise, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key.Unfortunately, there may not be any symptoms of carotid artery disease. However, there are warning signs of a stroke. 

Carotid Artery Disease

These include:

  • Sudden weakness or clumsiness of a hand
  • Sudden weakness or paralysis of an arm or leg
  • Unexplained slurring of speech or garbled talk
  • Sudden blurriness or blindness in one eye
  • Severe dizziness or near blackout
  • Severe headache

If the carotid artery has severe narrowing or blockage, a procedure must be done to open the artery and allow the blood to flow to the brain. One of newest, minimally invasive procedures is called carotid stenting. Carotid stenting is performed by using a specially designed catheter. An incision is made in the groin and the catheter is guided up to the narrowing in the carotid artery. The catheter carries a tiny balloon that inflates and deflates, flattening the plaque against the wall of the artery. Next, a stent is placed in the artery to hold it open and widen the passage for blood to flow. This procedure offers a safe and effective, non-surgical option to treat carotid artery disease.  By making some simple lifestyle changes, for example quitting smoking, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing the disease. Also, be sure to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol level.

  • Aneurysms - Aneurysmsare a bulge in the aorta, which is the main artery connected to the heart. An aneurysm is dangerous because it can burst and cause death. Aortic aneurysms usually occur in the abdomen below the kidneys (abdominal aneurysm), but they may occur in the chest (thoracic aneurysm) as well. Most aneurysms are caused by a breakdown in the proteins providing structural strength to the wall of the aorta. Normally patients experience no symptoms. However, people who have high blood pressure, smoke and have a family history of aneurysms, may be at risk of having an aneurysm. Surgery is usually required to fix the bulging aneurysm. CHI St. Alexius Health Heart and Vascular Center was the first in the state to perform the new thoracic endoprosthesis procedure. During this procedure, a stent is placed inside the diseased aorta to draw blood flow away from the aneurysm by creating a new path for blood flow. This is a big step forward in terms of treatment options and within the next ten years this will probably be the standard way to treat aneurysms. The thoracic endoprosthesis procedure offers a much safer and less invasive way to treat aneurysms. The treatment offers a shorter hospital stay and patients make a full recovery in a couple of weeks. Previously, patients had to undergo an open surgery and had a much longer recovery time. CHI St. Alexius Health Heart and Vascular Center is a specialist in general, thoracic and vascular surgery. They perform many surgeries of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Regular screenings for people who are at risk of having an aneurysm are the key to identifying and treating the condition early on. St. Alexius Heart & Vascular Center offers screenings and encourage those at risk to get checked regularly.