Cardiologists in Austin and Central Texas
St. David’s HealthCare is a leader in cardiovascular diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Our services include advanced heart care provided by a team of board-certified physicians. We also offer an electrophysiology (EP) program at Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute. This is a world-renowned center for the treatment and research of cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats).
For more information about our cardiology services, call the St. David's Help Center at (888) 868-2104.
Cardiovascular physicians and clinics
St. David's has brought together leading physician practices in the area to provide improved care to our patients. Our cardiology offices and affiliated clinics throughout Central Texas include:
Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute
The Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center is led by a cardiac electrophysiologist. The medical team also includes some of the most prominent physicians and researchers in the field. In addition to treatment and research, the institute serves as an educational resource for heart doctors.
Heart Valve Clinic
The Heart Valve Clinics at Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s South Austin Medical Center are dedicated to the advancement and research of valvular therapies. The clinic features a team of interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons. These professionals specialize in the latest transcatheter valve procedures and minimally invasive techniques. At the Heart Valve Clinic, patients may complete aortic valve replacement or repair surgery.
Heart Hospital of Austin
3801 North Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 407-VALV (8258)
St. David’s South Austin Medical Center
901 W. Ben White Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 816-VALV (8258)
This painless test provides the possibility of early detection of heart disease, when it is most easily treated. We offer the latest HeartSaver CT scanner technology, providing sharp, detailed images of the heart. The procedure is similar to having an x-ray - fast, painless and highly accurate in determining the extent of calcified blockage in the arteries.
As the number one killer of men and women in the United States, heart disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer, combined – one death every 39 seconds.
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Inactive lifestyle
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Erectile Dysfunction
Men ages 40-65 or women ages 45-70 with one or more of these risk factors can make an appointment for screening. If you are outside these age ranges, you must bring a written physician referral to your appointment.
Conditions we treat
Vascular surgeons at our hospitals treat a variety of cardiac conditions, including:
Advanced aortic disease
Advanced aortic disease refers to several conditions affecting the thoracic aorta, such as:
- Aortic aneurysms (bulges in the walls of the aorta)
- Coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta)
- Dissections (tears) of the aorta
- Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder affecting connective tissue)
Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. This can result from:
- Cancer-related problems
- Congenital heart problems
- Heart disease
- Heart electrical problems
- Heart infections
- High blood pressure
- Lung problems
- Substance abuse/use problems
- Thyroid problems
- Viral illnesses
Structural heart disease
Structural heart disease pertains to defects in the heart’s valves, wall or chambers. Structural heart defects can be congenital (present from birth) or develop over time. Common structural defects we treat include:
- Atrial septal defect (a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart)
- Constrictive pericarditis (chronic inflammation of the sac-like membrane surrounding the heart)
- Heart murmur (abnormal sounds during the heartbeat cycle caused by irregular blood flow)
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick)
- Left atrial appendage occlusion (blocking or closing the left atrial appendage)
- Valve prolapse (the two valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly)
- Valve regurgitation (leaking heart valves)
- Valve stenosis (a valve does not open properly)
Cardiologists at our hospitals strive to provide the best patient experience possible. We offer advanced techniques to diagnose and treat heart conditions. We also contribute to research and are committed to empowering patients through education.
St. David’s is affiliated with leading cardiovascular research groups in the U.S. We also have a dedicated research office to further support and grow our programs. Areas our cardiovascular studies focus on include:
- Structural heart devices
- Cardiac medications
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Therapeutic implants
- Treatments for atrial fibrillation (AFib) and heart failure
Imaging services help us diagnose symptoms. They also inform patients about their wellness before conditions develop. This enables our hospitals to prioritize preventive care. It also helps patients determine their risk of heart disease and failure. Cardiac imaging services we provide include:
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
Cardiovascular MRI is a non-invasive scan to assess the heart's structure and functionality. This technology is used to identify many conditions, including:
- Aortic aneurysms
- Cardiomyopathy (any disease involving the heart muscle) or cardiac masses (e.g., tumors)
- Heart muscle scarring caused by a heart attack or other disorder
- Myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation)
- Pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart)
- Valvular disorders (e.g., heart valve regurgitation and stenosis)
Cardiovascular computed tomography (CT) scans
Our hospitals use the latest CT imaging techniques to detect calcified plaque in the arteries. If plaque is found, the test will reveal the exact location and level of risk associated with the blockage. This helps us identify disease as early as possible. It also gives patients a clear picture of their heart health.
The recommended age range for a preventive CT scan is between 40 and 65 years old for men and 45 and 70 years old for women. If your age is outside that range, consult with your physician about the screening.
Electrophysiology (EP) study
An EP study is a test that records your heart's electrical activity and pathways. These tests help find where an arrhythmia is coming from.
Treadmill stress tests
In addition to CT scans, a treadmill stress test may be used to monitor blood flow restriction. However, these tests do not help with the early detection of heart disease.
Young athlete heart screening
Congenital heart defects affect almost one percent of the births each year in the U.S. To raise awareness of this issue and enable teens to take ownership of their health, St. David's offers free heart screenings for athletes between 14 and 18 years old.
These heart screenings for young athletes are offered at Heart Hospital of Austin and Heart Hospital of Austin at St. David's Round Rock. To register or find out more information about the young athlete heart screening, please call (512) 478-3627.
Emergency cardiac services
Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialized type of therapy. It is designed to help you develop a heart-healthy lifestyle, before or after heart surgery or treatment. Through education and exercise, you can learn about your heart health and reduce your risk of disease and failure.
Many of our hospitals offer these rehabilitation programs. Patients work with cardiologists, nurses and therapists in a safe, controlled environment. The level of physical activity is gradually increased while the body’s response to exercise is monitored. Cardiac rehabilitation can last from six to 18 weeks, depending on the patient's needs.
Components of cardiac rehab
Cardiac rehabilitation includes two components: physical activity and counseling. Patients practice exercises to improve their strength and cardiovascular fitness. They also learn about risk factors and heart health through individual counseling sessions.
Cardiac rehab includes some physical therapy. Through monitored activity, you will:
- Gain the confidence you need to resume activities of daily living
- Gradually increase the efficiency of your heart and lungs
- Strengthen your muscles
We will customize a plan based on your heart health and other medical conditions. This approach enables us to work toward your wellness goals in the most effective way possible.
Heart health education
During rehab, you will also learn how to reduce your risk for future heart problems. You and your doctor will develop a plan for managing risk factors and complete nutrition and stress management counseling. If you need it, smoking cessation support is available, as well.
Typical therapy programs last six to 12 weeks with one to three sessions scheduled per week. The length of your program depends on your goals, recovery progress and cardiologist’s recommendation. Therapy can begin soon after discharge from your procedure.
Starting cardiac rehabilitation
You need a physician's referral for cardiac rehabilitation. Your cardiologist may recommend therapy following a diagnosis or treatment. In general, participants in our program have had:
- A heart attack
- A heart failure diagnosis
- Coronary intervention, with or without stent placement
- Heart surgery
- Stable angina (chest pain or discomfort resulting from activity or emotional stress)
- Valve replacement or repair
Free heart disease education classes
St. David’s Medical Center hosts a free Living Well With Heart Disease Class. Topics discussed include:
- Heart disease information, such as medication and risks
- Heart healthy nutrition
- Stress management
Meetings take place on the third Thursday of every month from 9:00am to noon. Classes are held at:
900 E. 30th St., Suite 101
Austin, TX 78705
To register for an upcoming class or get more information about our Living Well With Heart Disease Class, call (512) 544-4263.
Heart and vascular surgery
Heart and vascular surgeries, including open heart, bypass and valve surgery and treatment of aortic disease are performed at St. David's South Austin Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin, St. David's Round Rock Medical Center, St. David's Medical Center and St. David's North Austin Medical Center.
Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David's South Austin Medical Center specialize in the following cardiovascular care:
- Mechanical Circulatory Support (LVAD - only offered at Heart Hospital of Austin)
- Minimally invasive heart surgery
- Mitral valve surgery (repair or replacement of the mitral valve, which prevents blood from flowing back into the heart)
- Structural heart services
- Surgical aortic valve replacement, or SAVR (replacing a diseased valve with an artificial one)
- The treatment of advanced aortic disease
Minimally invasive heart surgery
Minimally invasive surgery uses much smaller and less invasive incisions. This enables vascular surgeons to minimize scarring and pain while treating the heart. Our cardiothoracic surgeons use minimally invasive techniques for a variety of procedures, such as:
- Coronary artery bypass (unblocking or widening arteries to restore blood flow to the heart)
- Endograft (inserting a hollow tube into the thoracic aorta to alleviate blood pressure)
- Pacemaker implantation (inserting a small electrical device to regulate heart rhythms)
- Stent grafting (inserting a self-expanding stent frame designed to seal vessel walls and prevent blood leaks)
There are many benefits to minimally invasive procedures, including:
- Faster recovery time
- Faster return to activity or work
- Reduced pain
- Shorter hospital stay
Our experienced team of cardiothoracic surgeons will evaluate a patient’s condition and assess the surgical benefits and risks to determine the best treatment option.