Heart Care Services: Patient Resources

What is cardiology?

Cardiology, also known as cardiovascular medicine, focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. These include: coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disorders, heart failure, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease, heart muscle disease, and disorders of the vascular system including the aorta and other vessels.

What is thoracic and cardiovascular surgery?

Thoracic and cardiovascular surgery is the surgical treatment of diseases that affect the chest, which usually involve the heart and lungs. Diseases and treatment include aortic aneurysms and dissections, valve repair and replacements, coronary heart surgery, abnormal heart rhythms, heart and lung transplantation and adult congenital heart surgery. 

What is vascular surgery and endovascular therapy?

Vascular surgery and endovascular therapy is the treatment of diseases that affect the arteries and veins through medical therapy, minimally invasive procedures or surgery. Diseases include abdominal aortic aneurysm and dissections, cerebrovascular occlusive disease, hemodialysis access, peripheral artery disease, renal and mesenteric occlusive disease, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis.

How do these three areas work together to treat heart and vascular conditions?

UF cardiologists, thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons work together as a team to provide the most advanced options to heart and vascular patients, whether its treatment through medicine, surgical intervention or a combination of both.

One example is transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure is used for adult patients with narrowing aortic valves who are not candidates for open heart surgery.  While the golden standard is to repair the valve through open heart surgery, TAVR offers a potential option to patients who previously had no other option to correct this condition. UF Health cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons work together to transport an artificial valve – framed by a stent and wrapped around a balloon – up to the aortic valve via a larger catheter in the leg. The new valve is anchored into position inside the diseased valve by inflation of a balloon. Placement of the stent is monitored with X-ray and ultrasound imaging in our hybrid imaging and surgery suite.

Another example is an aortic aneurysm, which occurs when a section of a vein, artery or part of the heart stretches and fills with blood. When this happens in the upper part of the aorta, UF vascular and thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons work together to provide minimally invasive care. Rather than open surgery, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, usually through the groin. Small instruments are attached to the catheter to perform the necessary procedure under X-ray guidance.

Why UF Health Heart and Vascular Care?

UF’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine is recognized as one of the leading cardiovascular programs in the United States. This team of UF physicians, health care specialists, and scientists work together to deliver excellent patient care, as well as perform research and education to enhance the quality of heart treatments in the future.

UF Health thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons are at the forefront of research initiatives to further improve patient care and quality of life. In the 2021-2022 editions of America’s Best Hospitals, published by U.S. News & World Report, heart care and heart surgery at UF Health was ranked the highest among Florida hospitals and 50th nationwide. UF Health vascular surgeons are also nationally recognized in the fields of vascular research and care.

While our research is what sets us apart, our priority is getting you back home, to share life with the people you care about.  At UF Health, every advance is looked at not for what it can do, but for who it can help. This is how we’re moving medicine forward, with every patient we serve.