Diagnostic and Medical Heart Care
Our team of cardiologists and specialists provides diagnostic tests and procedures to assess the function and structure of the heart, including:
Following diagnosis, we design custom treatment plans based on your needs.
We use medical and interventional therapies for a range of conditions — from heart valve problems and arrhythmias to advanced heart failure.
Heart Failure Services
Our experts have special training to notice the subtle signs of heart failure and provide wide-ranging treatments, no matter how advanced.
We help people with heart failure maximize their quality of life through:
- Drug therapy.
- Lifestyle recommendations.
- Advanced treatments like heart assist devices.
At our Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Clinic, we:
- Offer ongoing support for people with heart pumps.
- Conduct evaluations for heart transplants based on each person’s unique needs.
The experts in our cardiac catheterization laboratory have years of experience, offering both diagnostic and therapeutic care.
In the heart cath lab, we:
- Use state-of-the-art equipment to find blockages.
- Provide proven treatments like angioplasty and stenting.
- Work closely with the heart surgery team at UPMC Altoona when you need more advanced treatments, such as heart bypass surgery.
Structural Heart Program
UPMC Altoona’s structural heart disease program, led by Dr. George Jabbour, is using new, minimally invasive advanced technology to repair defects or abnormalities in the heart’s valves, walls, or chambers.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) — TAVR is now available at UPMC Altoona as an alternative to open heart surgery for patients who need a heart valve replacement due to severe aortic stenosis or a failing aortic valve. Performed in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab under anesthesia, this innovative procedure allows our HVI experts to insert a new valve through a small incision in the groin, instead of making a large incision in the chest. A catheter is placed into an artery in the leg, acting as a conduit for the new valve, which is located inside a balloon. The doctors then thread a catheter through the vein toward the heart. When the catheter reaches the site of the diseased valve, the balloon is inflated and the new valve is placed. It begins functioning immediately, restoring blood flow to the heart. Most TAVR patients spend one to two days in the hospital. Compared to an open heart procedure, TAVR benefits include less anesthesia, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster recovery. During a TAVR procedure, the heart is never stopped.
WATCHMAN™ — UPMC Altoona also now offers the WATCHMAN™, an implantable device proven to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) that is not caused by a heart valve problem. The hour-long surgery, performed under general anesthesia, uses a catheter inserted through a small incision in the upper leg to place the small, parachute-shaped device inside the heart. The surgeon uses a narrow tube to guide the WATCHMAN into the heart’s left atrial appendage, assisted by x-ray and ultrasound. In about 45 days, the heart tissue grows over the WATCHMAN device and seals it. A major benefit is that AFib patients with the device are eventually able to go off their blood thinner medications, reducing their risk of major bleeding after a fall or accident.
An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart’s electrical system. It can affect its rate or rhythm, causing a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.
Our electrophysiology team offers many treatments for people with heart arrhythmias, including:
- Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers
- Medical management
- Radiofrequency ablation