Heart disease is a term that describes a variety of conditions that affect your heart. Heart disease is sometimes also referred to as cardiovascular disease.
Types of Heart Disease
Your heart disease symptoms will vary depending on the type of heart disease you have. Your cardiology care team at St. Peter’s Health will discuss your specific treatment options with you.
Here are some of the most common types of heart disease:
- Arrhythmia: Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. Your heart may beat too slowly, too quickly or irregularly. Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common (and most serious) arrhythmias.
- Cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy affects the heart muscle. It can be a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure, such as it becoming larger or thicker. Because of these changes, the heart is often unable to pump adequately or maintain normal electrical rhythm.
- Congenital Heart Disease: These are heart defects that you are born with, also referred to as congenital heart defects. Having a hole in your heart when you are born is a common congenital heart defect.
- Congestive Heart Failure: With heart failure, the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body. Heart failure requires ongoing medical supervision through your cardiology team. St. Peter’s Health has a heart failure clinic to help you regularly monitor your condition.
- Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary artery disease is the hardening of your arteries; it is frequently caused by atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of your arteries often due to plaque buildup. Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease is one of the leading causes of heart disease-related deaths in the U.S.
- Heart Valve Disease: Heart valve disease occurs when your valves are damaged and do not work properly. Common types of heart valve disease include aortic stenosis, mitral valve prolapse and mitral regurgitation (also called mitral insufficiency).
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): High blood pressure is when blood flows through blood vessels with higher than normal pressure. It occurs when the systolic pressure is consistently over 140 mm Hg, or the diastolic blood pressure is consistently over 90 mm Hg.
St. Peter’s Approach to Heart Disease
Diagnosing Heart Disease
- Cardiac Testing: To diagnose heart disease, you will have one or more non-invasive cardiac tests. These tests include echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), stress tests and heart monitors (Holter monitor or event monitor).
- Coronary Calcium Score (Heart Scan): One of the best ways to detect coronary artery disease is through a CT scan that looks for calcium deposits in your heart’s arteries. St. Peter’s Health’s calcium scoring procedure uses a leading-edge Siemens Sensation 64-slice CT scanner. This CT scanner can obtain the images needed to quantify the amount of calcium in the arteries and calculate a calcium score.
Treating Heart Disease
Our cardiology care team works with you to make a personalized treatment plan that takes into account a variety of factors, including:
- Type of heart disease you have
- How severe your symptoms are
- Risk for your disease to cause a life-threatening cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke
- Your quality of life goals and your overall health
Your treatment plan may include cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab can help you strengthen your heart through a personalized, monitored exercise program. Our therapists can also help you modify your lifestyle to be more heart healthy, as needed.
If you need heart surgery, we will refer you to an outside hospital. After your heart surgery, you can continue to see your St. Peter’s Health cardiologists for follow-up visits.
Heart Disease Programs and Services
- Angioplasty (Heart Stent)
- Cardiac Catherization (Interventional Cardiology)
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
- Cholesterol Management (Lipid Management)
- Coronary Calcium Score (Heart Scan)
- Echocardiogram (Heart Ultrasound)
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Event Monitor
- Holter Monitor
- Stress Test
- Pacemaker Installation and Follow-Up
- Tobacco Cessation
- Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)
Location(s) of Heart Disease Services
St. Peter's Health Medical Group - Broadway Clinic
Helena, MT 59601