Louisville Cardiology Group provides personalized, patient-oriented care by experienced specialists trained in an array of diagnostic techniques and innovative treatments for cardiovascular disease. With physicians who are deeply involved in our community, our practice partners with Baptist Health to provide complete cardiac care services. From fast emergency response times and thorough treatment of heart disease, to prevention, rehabilitation and research, we strive to help our patients live better, healthier lives.
Personalized Patient Care
Cardiac Care Services
Louisville Cardiology Group partners with Baptist Health to provide innovative programs that provide targeted care for heart patients.
Interventional cardiologists at Louisville Cardiology Group have played a vital part in creating a regional network for major heart attack care that provides a streamlined process of delivering patients to the proper hospital in the shortest time possible. The network, a partnership with medical centers and emergency services personnel in 14 Kentuckiana counties, is committed to providing proper care to acute heart attack patients within the national standard of 90 minutes or less. (Baptist Health Louisville regularly beats this standard with an average time of 48 minutes from door to treatment.)
To achieve these fast response times, the planning team has worked to ensure that patients experiencing heart attack symptoms:
- Recognize their symptoms and immediately call 911 for an ambulance
- Are quickly diagnosed through electrocardiogram (ECG), preferably in the ambulance
- Are taken directly to the nearest hospital equipped to care for acute heart attacks
When EMTs are allowed to perform ECGs in the ambulance, hospital personnel can prepare for the patient and take the patient straight to the Cath Lab for prompt treatment upon arrival.
The Chest Pain Center provides a more effective and efficient way to care for both high-risk and low-risk patients who come to the emergency room with chest pain or discomfort. Located in the outpatient Cardiac Care Center, the center is convenient to the cardiology diagnostic departments, which is vital for diagnosis and treatment.
When a patient goes to the Center with chest pain, the cardiologist quickly determines the patient’s cardiac risk with a physical assessment and appropriate cardiac diagnostic testing. In the diagnostic testing areas, technologists use new, advanced cardiovascular tests and procedures to quickly and accurately diagnose these patients, while reducing hospital stays and maintaining safety. A cardiologist typically sees a patient within 45 minutes of arrival at the Chest Pain Center. Patients are usually released in about three hours.
Baptist Health’s Congestive Heart Failure Clinic provides multi-disciplinary support for patients with congestive heart failure, a serious condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body, often causing blood to back up into other areas and allowing fluid to gather.
Physicians in Louisville Cardiology Group think the clinic is a valuable tool in managing a patient’s condition because it offers ongoing education and support for all facets of the disease. Patients and their caregivers meet monthly with a team made up of a cardiologist, psychologist, nurse practitioner and dietitian to discuss the patient’s treatment plan and any concerns.
Successfully managing heart valve disease, a lifelong condition, requires a combination of lifestyle changes, medicines and treatment to manage symptoms and delay problems. Baptist Health’s Heart Valve Clinic brings together a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care and support to patients with this condition.
The clinic’s team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and a nurse practitioner meets with patients to evaluate their conditions and assess their individual needs. The team develops a customized treatment plan, and follows up with regular meetings with patients to help them understand the condition and provide support.
An important part of managing cardiovascular disease and recovering from heart surgery is cardiac rehabilitation. Louisville Cardiology, in conjunction with Baptist Health, provides a full array of Cardiac Rehabilitation services (Phase II and Phase III) that is customized for individual patients according to their needs. Rehab often includes monitored exercise, along with education about managing medications, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress.
Baptist Health’s INR Clinic helps patients with anticoagulation conditions monitor and manage the medications that prevent blood clots. Registered nurses work in conjunction with a patient’s cardiologist to check INR (international normalized ratio) blood tests and adjust dosages as necessary.
Rhythm Management Services
The Rhythm Management Department at Louisville Cardiology Group follows more than 1,700 patients with implanted cardiac devices. Ongoing monitoring and follow up is an essential part of the care for these patients.
Devices used for patient care include:
- Pacemaker Devices are implanted to help the heart beat at a rate that is best for the patient.
- Defibrillator Devices are implanted in patients who experience heart rhythms that are too fast and are potentially fatal. These devices can detect such rhythms and treat them with a shock or other appropriate therapy.
- Implantable Loop Recorders are implanted cardiac monitors. The information stored in the monitor can be downloaded from the patient’s land line phone or with equipment in the office. The patient also is able to store data using a provided activator.
- Cardiac Rescynchronization (CRT) Devices are used to treat patients with heart failure. These devices can be either pacemakers or defibrillators.
- Holter Monitoring Devices are recorders that are worn for 24 to 48 hours to record each heartbeat for that period. It is particularly helpful in evaluating patients suspected of having abnormal rhythms who have symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, and/or fainting.
Louisville Cardiology Group has board certified physicians who implant and monitor patients with pacemakers, defibrillators, implantable loop recorders, and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices. Trained device specialists work directly with the physicians to monitor patients by phone, through web sites, and in person in the clinic. Experienced device specialists also perform tests to evaluate whether the devices are functioning properly and are trained to review diagnostic information stored in these devices.
Determining a Diagnosis
The key to proper, effective treatment of complex cardiovascular diseases is an accurate diagnosis. The staff of Louisville Cardiology Group is trained in the most up-to-date methods of diagnostic testing to help the cardiologist determine the proper treatment for each individual patient. Diagnostic testing includes traditional echocardiography, advanced echocardiography including 3D imaging, arterial and venous ultrasound, cardiac nuclear imaging, PET scanning, stress testing, and cardiac catheterization.
Nuclear Cardiology involves the use of very small amounts of radioactive substances, called tracers, to find blockages in the heart and vascular system. These non-invasive, outpatient procedures provide different information than traditional echocardiography, allowing physicians to see not only the blockages, but to view how the heart is functioning.
These nuclear stress tests may be performed to determine the cause of chest pain or the extent of a blockage; to check the effectiveness of a cardiac procedure, treatment or medication; or to assess safe levels of exercise for a heart patient. They include:
- Stress Myoview – a type of nuclear stress test that combines nuclear imaging with an exercise stress test.
- Stress PET Scan – a nuclear imaging test in which technicians use a PET (positron emission tomography) scanner to view three-dimensional pictures of the heart.
- MUGA – a MUGA (Multiple Gated Acquisition) scan, also known as nuclear ventriculography, creates video images of the lower chambers of the heart to assess whether they are pumping blood properly.
- Stress Treadmill Test – a test performed on a treadmill while monitoring a patient’s vital signs and continuous electrocardiogram (EKG) tracing. This information allows the cardiologist to assess how the heart responds during exertion.
Echocardiography is a safe, painless ultrasound procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to image the heart and the great vessels. The echocardiogram images provide detailed information about the heart’s size, function, blood flow and valvular structure. Your doctor will use the images from an echocardiogram to identify various abnormalities in the heart muscle and valves.
There are multiple types of echo imaging that can provide additional information about your heart’s structure and function. They include:
- Contrast Echocardiography
- Stress Echocardiography
- 3D Echocardiography
- Transesophageal Echocardiography
- Strain Imaging
Vascular Imaging is a safe, painless ultrasound procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to image the both the arteries and veins. The vascular images provide detailed information about the vessels and the presence or absence of disease.
Types of vascular tests your doctor may order include:
- Duplex Carotid Ultrasound – arteries in the neck
- Duplex Venous Ultrasound– veins in the legs
- Duplex Femoral Ultrasound – arteries in the legs
- Duplex Aorta Ultrasound – artery in the abdomen
- Segmental Arterial Pressure Testing – blood pressure testing of the arteries in the legs
- Vascular Screening – to assess the arteries in the neck, abdomen, and legs
Cardiopulmonary Stress Testing is a safe and painless exam that measures the ventilatory gas exchange (oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange) during exercise. This exam is helpful in managing patients with complex cardiopulmonary and pulmonary diseases.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Louisville Cardiology Group’s offers a complete range of diagnostic tests and treatments through its Cardiac Cath Lab, including:
- Left heart catheterization
- Right heart catheterization
- Pulmonary vasodilator studies
- Fractional flow reserve
A keystone to cardiovascular care is cardiac catheterization, a common, but often lifesaving, procedure that is used to both diagnose and treat heart blockages. During catheterization, a doctor places a thin, flexible tube into the left or right side of the heart, usually through an artery or vein in the groin (upper thigh), wrist or groin.
This method allows your cardiologist to perform special tests, such as coronary angiography, to remove blockages to the heart through coronary angioplasty, and to insert stents to keep the arteries open. Patients are usually awake during cardiac catheterization, but given medications to help them relax. Recovery time is fast, and there is a low risk of complications.
Louisville Cardiology Group specialists are increasingly using radial catheterization, a breakthrough technique that allows the cardiologist to access the heart through the radial artery in the wrist. This method reduces recovery time and bleeding, allowing patients to sit up and stand right after the procedure, rather than lying still for six hours as required when using the femoral artery in the groin. Instead, patients are observed for two to three hours, then released.
Louisville Cardiology Group also specializes in monitoring the medications of patients with pulmonary hypertension through pulmonary vasodilator studies. These medicines, usually taken along with blood thinners, diuretics and/or oxygen, are called “selective pulmonary vasodilators” because they are able to selectively open the blood vessels to the lungs to increase pulmonary circulation without affecting other blood vessels in the body.
Fractional flow reserve (FFR) is a technique used during heart catheterization that measures blood pressure and flow through the coronary artery to determine the severity of a blockage. This wire-based measurement tool helps cardiologists determine whether to perform an intervention (angioplasty or stent replacement) on the artery in question.
Louisville Cardiology is currently participating in several research studies and clinical trials. We are involved in research trials for:
- Acute myocardial infarction
- Acute coronary syndromes
- Congestive heart failure
- Echocardiography perfusion
- Coronary artery bypass grafting
- Pharmacologic nuclear stress testing
We are working with a variety of pacemaker trials including a biventricular pacemaker trial. We are also involved in a trial for Fabry Disease and a plaque excision trial of peripheral vessels.
Dr. Michael Imburgia is a member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and all study nurses are certified by that organization.
For more information, call (502) 893-7710.