The Heart & Vascular Program at Valley Regional Medical Center provides nationally recognized cardiovascular care to patients in the Rio Grande Valley. Our unparalleled team, innovative technologies and specialized programs focus on preventing, diagnosing, treating and recovering from heart disease.

Our staff includes RCIS (Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialists) and board certified registered nurses and are all 100% certified in their cardiac specialty. They are specifically trained for the post operative care of cardiac patients.

Elevating cardiovascular care in our communities

Valley Regional Medical Center is committed to improving the cardiovascular health of people in the communities we serve. We provide community clinics, host lunch & learn sessions and participate in health fairs to help our neighbors understand the importance of heart health and what they can do to lower their risk of heart disease.

Prevention is only half the battle. Valley Regional provides all the Emergency Responders in our region with the LifeNet system. Patients experiencing heart-related symptoms can receive an EKG in the field (at their home or on the way to the hospital) and LifeNet sends that data directly to the Valley Regional ER. A rapid response team can be mobilized and ready to treat the patient as soon as they arrive, cutting down on treatment time.

LifeNet is one way our hospital achieves excellent STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) treatment times – a measure of how fast heart attack patients get the treatment they need for better outcomes. The American Heart Association (AHA) STEMI guidelines recommending that no more than 90 minutes pass from the patients’ time of arrival at the hospital to the time their treatment begins. Valley Regional’s STEMI times far exceed this standard with an average STEMI time of 53 minutes. (in 2014)

Valley Regional Medical Center is proud to be a recipient of the AHA Silver Lifeline STEMI Award for our low treatment times.

Advanced blood flow testing | A personalized heart test

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. CAD develops when the arteries leading to the heart narrow or become blocked, which may lead to a reduction in blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks and death. Despite being the most common form of heart disease, many of the non-invasive tests available today have low accuracy rates in detecting the disease.

Valley Regional Medical Center is advancing the diagnosis of CAD with the advanced blood flow test. This non-invasive heart test provides a personalized 3D model of your coronary arteries that shows how each blockage impacts blood flow to your heart. This detailed information, which was previously only available through an invasive procedure, helps your doctor determine the next step in your treatment plan.

How it Works

  1. Your doctor will order a coronary CT scan to look for blockages. If additional information is needed, your doctor may order an advanced blood flow test. This does not require another appointment and there is no additional risk to you.
  2. Using your CT scan, the advanced blood flow test technology creates a personalized digital 3D model of your coronary arteries. With trained specialists and powerful computer algorithms, the advanced blood flow test calculates how much each blockage limits your blood flow.
  3. Your doctor receives a digital, color-coded 3D model of your coronary arteries. This information helps you and your doctor determine the next step in your treatment plan.


  • Provides a more detailed view of the significance of your coronary artery blockage than a standard coronary CT scan
  • Non-invasive - no additional risk to you
  • Reduces the need for follow-up testing and evaluation
  • Helps your doctor better determine the appropriate treatment of care

Cardiac catheterization lab

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that inserts a small tube in an artery to diagnose and treat heart problems. Valley Central Medical Center offers both radial (through the arm) and femoral (through the groin) catheterization.

Femoral catheterization has been the standard for years because the large arteries of the legs allow for direct access to the heart. But patients need to lie flat for at least 6 hours after the procedure. Radial catheterization is a newer approach that allows patients to get up and around much more quickly, lessening the risk of complications and speeding recovery time. Our cardiac cath lab is the first hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to offer radial catheterization.

Our cath lab is open 24/7 for diagnostic or interventional procedures involving blood vessels in the heart (cardio), brain (cerebral), neck (carotid) and other body areas (peripheral), including:

  • Right and Left Heart Catheterizations
  • Coronary Angioplasty & Stenting (opens narrowed artery and keeps it open)
  • IVC Filter Placements (to filter out clots that occur)
  • Coronary Artery Atherectomy (removes artery blockage)
  • Thrombectomy (surgical blood clot removal)
  • Swan Ganz Insertions (to measure blood flow to the lungs)
  • Pericardiocentesis (to remove fluid from around the heart)

Heart & peripheral vascular surgery

Non-invasive techniques are not always an option to treat heart disease. If surgery is needed, Valley Regional Medical Center has state-of-the-art facilities and experienced surgical teams. Our heart surgery and vascular surgery services include:

  • Coronary bypass surgery (heart bypass or CABG)
  • Peripheral bypass surgery (used to treat peripheral vascular disease or PVD)
  • Laparoscopic vein harvesting (taking a part of an artery from elsewhere in the body to use as a bypass around a clogged artery in coronary or peripheral bypass surgery)
  • Aortic arch repair
  • Heart valve repair and replacement, including minimally invasive mitral valve procedures
  • Treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
  • Surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery diagnostics
  • Other cardiology and vascular surgeries

Electrophysiology testing & treatment services

Electrophysiology (EP) testing checks and records the electrical activity of your heart. EP services can help diagnose and find the cause of an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), allowing our doctors to create the best treatment plan.

Our electrophysiology services include:

  • Diagnostic electrophysiology studies, used to diagnose or monitor heart-rhythm problems
  • Pacemakers, implanted devices that control the pace of the heartbeat
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), that send tiny electric shocks to reset the heart if a dangerous heart rhythm problem is detected
  • Stress-echocardiogram, an ultrasound performed at rest and again when exercising (or mimicking exercise with medication) to see how well the heart is functioning
  • Trans-esophageal echo, an ultrasound performed using a tube placed down the patient’ throat
  • Cardiac ablation (also called radiofrequency ablation), a catheter-based treatment to correct irregular heart rhythms by using tiny electrical charges to destroy the specific area in the heart that is sending faulty signals

At Valley Regional, our specially trained EP doctors are now able to treat AFib (atrial fibrillation) a common type of abnormal heart rhythm. AFib is treated using a process similar to cardiac ablation, using specialized equipment to cauterize the area causing the electrical problem in the heart.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a comprehensive way to address further progression of heart disease in individuals who have experienced a cardiac event. This is an excellent setting to teach patients and their families' ways to lower their risk. We use a team-based approach to help patients meet their specific health and fitness goals.

The key to your success is our professional team of registered nurses and exercise physiologists. Working together with you and your physicians, our rehabilitation experts combine education, counseling, exercise and lifestyle tips to help you lead a satisfying and functional life.

Related services

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