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Heart conditions

Tyler Heart Institute sees patients for a variety of heart ailments. Here, you’ll find an overview of some of the most common conditions we diagnose and treat:

Coronary Disease

Coronary disease, also called coronary artery disease, occurs when the arteries (blood vessels) that supply your heart become damaged. This is due to atherosclerosis (ATH-er-o-skler-O-sis), or plaque, that builds up in your arteries, often over many years. If the flow of blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, chest pain or a heart attack can occur.

Coronary disease diagnosis

Coronary disease is often detected using diagnostic tests such as electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, stress test, nuclear stress test, stress echo, CT coronary angiogram or CT calcium score. If coronary disease is suspected, your cardiologist can tell you which tests you’ll need.

Coronary disease intervention

Depending on the degree of damage to the heart, treatment for coronary disease may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise; medications such as aspirin, beta blockers, or nitroglycerine; or interventional procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.


Arrhythmia (pronounced (ah-RITH-me-ah) is the medical term for a problem with your heart rate. It can mean the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular pattern. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can be serious or even life-threatening. The most common type of arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can cause poor blood flow to the body.

Arrhythmia diagnosis

Arrhythmias are often diagnosed with tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), or an echocardiogram. If an arrhythmia is suspected, your cardiologist can tell you which tests you’ll need.

Arrhythmia intervention

The goals of arrhythmia intervention are to reset or control the rhythm of the heart, and to prevent blood clots. To reset the heart’s rhythm, a doctor may prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications, or you may have a pacemaker inserted. Other procedures used for arrhythmia include an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), electrophysiology (EP) ablation or a pacemaker.

Heart Failure

If you have heart failure, your heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of your body. The condition develops over time as the heart's pumping action grows weaker. High blood pressure is a common risk factor. Heart failure can affect the right side of the heart only, but in most cases, it affects both sides of the heart. Fortunately, heart failure can often be treated successfully.

Heart failure diagnosis

To diagnose heart failure, your doctor may order tests such as a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, stress test, or CT coronary angiogram. If heart failure is suspected, your cardiologist can tell you which tests you’ll need.

Heart failure intervention

Heart failure is often treated with medications, but in some cases, doctors recommend surgery to correct an underlying problem that led to the heart failure. Types of surgery used to treat heart failure include coronary artery bypass surgery, heart valve repair or replacement, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).

Valvular Disease

The heart has four valves, which ensure that blood flows in only one direction; valvular disease occurs when your heart’s valves don’t work correctly. Blood flows out the valves through leaflets, which act like one-way doors. Valvular disease can be caused by valvular stenosis — where valve leaflets become stiff — or by valvular insufficiency ("leaky valve"), when the leaflets do not close completely, letting blood leak backward across the valve.

Valvular disease diagnosis

Valvular disease may be diagnosed with tests such as an echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram, angiogram, electrocardiogram (EKG), or stress test. If valvular disease is suspected, your cardiologist can tell you which tests you’ll need.

Valvular disease intervention

Valvular disease treatment will depend on the valve affected and the severity of the condition. Treatment may include monitoring if the condition is mild, medication, or heart valve surgery.

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)

When blood vessels outside of the heart and brain — such as those in the legs and arms — become damaged, this is known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). PVD is usually caused by fatty deposits (plaque buildup) in arteries and veins, which narrows blood vessels in the arms, abdomen and legs, known as peripheral artery disease (PAD).

PVD diagnosis

PVD may be diagnosed with an ultrasound of the vessel where we suspect buildup. Other tests such as a CT coronary angiogram, or a stress test may also be used. If PVD is suspected, your cardiologist can tell you which tests you’ll need.

PVD intervention

In addition to medications such as blood thinners, and treatment of other existing conditions that may worsen PVD (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol), procedures used to treat PVD include angioplasty or surgical procedure.

How to make an appointment

To see a doctor at the Tyler Heart Institute, you will first need to be referred by a cardiac specialist.

Visit your family doctor, who can refer you to a cardiologist if needed.

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