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Aventura Hospital and Medical Center

Heart & Vascular Care

The Aventura Center for Cardiac and Vascular Medicine has become a premier facility for comprehensive cardiovascular care, earning a national reputation for excellence in the process.

When your heart is at stake, it is important to offer more advanced technology, more experienced heart care specialists and a greater range of support services to effectively diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.


Aventura Hospital and Medical Center received full accreditation with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria including:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC)

Heart attacks have beginnings! EHAC encourages early recognition when heart attack symptoms are mild. For the 50% of people experiencing these symptoms, the heart attack can be prevented with early treatment, before damage to the heart can occur. Symptoms can begin two weeks before a major event. 85% of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of blockage. Heart attack deaths kill 800,000 people annually in the US. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help cut that number in half. Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms.

Early Signs & Symptoms

People may or may not experience any or all of these symptoms. These symptoms may come and go until becoming constant and severe: One can experience mild chest symptoms, such as pressure, burning, aching or tightness, One can also experience nausea, feeling of fullness, shortness of breath, back pain, chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort, anxiety, fatigue, jaw pain, or pain that travels down one or both arms.

If you experience these symptoms: CALL 9-1-1, DON’T DRIVE. Your action could save a life.



National ACC/AHA guidelines state that hospitals treating acute heart attack patients by bringing the patients to the catheterization laboratory and relieving the block artery should readily achieve a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less, and studies have demonstrated strong associations between time to primary Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) and in-hospital mortality risk. Time is truly muscle.

Therefore, we have an aggressive Cardiac Alert Program that involves the efforts of highly skilled team of physicians, nurses, and technologists that provide 24 hours 7 days a week emergency cardiac care. Our team consistently beats the national average for STEMI care, the most deadly heart attack, and our average STEMI time is less than 60 minutes, significantly lower than the national benchmark of 90 minutes.


In the event of a heart attack, every second counts. That’s why our doctors trust AirStrip Cardiology—the revolutionary new technology that delivers EKGs from Emergency Medical Services directly to doctors’ and nurses’ smart phones or tablets. It allows patients to be accessed while they’re being transported to the hospital. The crucial time saved can help save lives.

The AirStrip system quickly identifies STEMIs (ST elevation myocardial infarction), a type of heart attack that involves complete blockage of a heart artery. Early treatment minimizes damage, which increases survival and reduces or eliminates complications.

Using the area’s most advanced, noninvasive diagnostic tests, the talented team at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center performs a variety of medical exams to detect the presence of heart disease. The type of tests performed depends upon the referring physician’s interpretation of the patient’s risk factors, medical history and current symptoms. Your physician will usually perform preliminary tests, such as chest x-ray and blood work, and may progress to more specialized procedures including echocardiography and cardiac catheterization. We also have an electrophysiology laboratory to diagnose patients with heart rhythm problems.

Cardiac Catheterization is a medical sub-specialty dedicated to using minimally invasive techniques with imaging guidance. A heart catheterization—or “cath” exam, as it is commonly called—is a special diagnostic x-ray imaging exam that allows your physician to see if any of the coronary arteries have blockages or evaluate patients’ heart valves functionality. We also have a dedicated Post Interventional Unit with trained staff that specializes in the care of pre and post cardiac intervention patients.

The advanced technology in our cardiac catheterization laboratories includes the Philips FD 10 and GE Innova 2100, all-digital cardiovascular imaging system that assists in better viewing and treatment of coronary artery blockages that could cause heart attacks or other serious cardiovascular damage. These revolutionary systems allow cardiologists to view hard-to-see blood vessels with exceptional clarity under even the most difficult conditions.

Our electrophysiology lab boasts an array of state-of-the-art technology including the Philips FD-10 Imaging System and the Prucka System to stimulate the heart, and a CARTO System for 3-D Mapping. These are capable of performing a wide range of procedures including:

  • Sinus Node Recovery Times
  • HIS Bundle Recordings
  • A-V Nodal Conduction Recordings
  • Atrial and Ventricular Pacing/Recording
  • Comprehensive Electrophysiology Studies
  • Cardiac 3D Mapping
  • Cardiac Ablations
  • Cardiac Implants:
    • Permanent/Temporary pacemakers
    • Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators

Our echocardiography laboratory is equipped with the latest cardiac transthoracic and transesophageal ultrasound systems. The Philips Ie33 is a fully digital system with enhanced tissue harmonic imaging with next generation broadband flow imaging. Cardiologists have a workstation for evaluation and analysis of the images.

Specialized procedures performed in the Echocardiography Lab include the following:

  • Diagnostic 2-dimensional echocardiography with or without M-Mode, Color Flow, Mapping and Doppler
  • Transesophageal echocardiography with Multiplane Transducer

Aventura Hospital and Medical Center has two dedicated state-of-the-art open heart suites backed up by a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) which is staffed by a specialized CVOR team, who provide the highest quality care for the patient and comfort to the patient’s family and friends. In addition, we use the Universal Care Model in CVICU. Patients stay in Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit from the moment they had their surgery until they are medically ready to go home.

We provide the following Cardiac Surgery Services:

  • Coronary artery bypass cases (on-pump, off-pump, PAD-CAB)
  • All valvular cases requiring repair or replacement of native tissue valves including minimally invasive
  • Cases involving repair of replacement of the ascending and descending aorta and pulmonary arteries.
  • Intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation
  • Right and left heart ventricular assist and support
  • ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and ECCOR (extracorporeal CO2 removal) services

In addition, we also work very closely with our Cardiopulmonary Services Department which maintains patients’ airways and post surgery intubation. They also perform many pulmonary function studies.

Nuclear Medicine involves the use of minute radioactive particles called isotopes to diagnose a wide variety of disorders. The Nuclear Medicine Department at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center has advanced SPECT cameras that more accurately localize abnormalities. Sophisticated computers are used to analyze and visualize the data.

Cardiac Stress Testing is performed in the Nuclear Medicine Lab to evaluate various cardiac disorders such as; infarction, ischemia, ejection fraction and wall motility. The stress test can be performed on a treadmill or by using pharmaceutical stress agents, e.g. Adenosine and Persantine.

This Discipline uses ultrasound waves to detect disease in veins and arteries throughout the body, by using pulse wave and color Doppler. Most frequently performed exams are lower and upper extremity venous and arterial, and carotids dropplers. Other specialized exams to name a few are venous mapping, aliens test, thoracic outlet syndrome, shut testing, SMA Doppler and renal artery doppler. The laboratory is accredited by the American College of Radiology with a dedicated team of sonographers who are nationally registered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.

Phase I Cardiac Rehabilitation begins in the hospital and will continue at home until you see your physician. Your physician will let you know when you and your heart are ready to tolerate a more aggressive exercise program.

Goals of the Program:

  • To maintain and improve your heart’s ability to tolerate activity.
  • To maintain and increase your muscle strength.
  • To prevent joint stiffness.
  • To improve your circulation
  • Teach how to monitor your pulse
  • Teach how to monitor signs and symptoms of fatigue
  • Learn sternal precautions

Patients suffering from various forms of vascular disease now have access to state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis with the Philips FD-20 Interventional Radiology Imaging System; a multi-functional system for both diagnostic and interventional procedures. It provides incredible image quality for vascular and coronary studies. Physicians can achieve a full range of projections, including steep angles and reduces procedure time.

The system is a true multi-functional large field-of-view room that provides outstanding image quality for both vascular and coronary studies. The Philips Allura FD20 features a 2k x 2k imaging chain and 14 bit depth image presentation. What the medical community has been waiting for, however, is the equipment designed to streamline the process, thereby minimizing the risk involved and improving the patient’s prognosis.

Specialized procedures performed in Interventional Radiology include the following:

  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization
  • Carotid Artery Stenting
  • Endovascular Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)
  • Renal, Angiography and Stenting
  • Laser
  • CT Guided Biopsies and drainages
  • Tunneled Dialysis and Ports Insertions

Whereas open-heart surgery in patients with aortic stenosis is currently still the elective procedure of choice, a high percentage of patients with aortic stenosis may be considered too high risk for this conventional surgery. For those patients, a new and innovative catheter-based procedure called Structural Heart Intervention may provide a healthy alternative to open-heart surgery.

More on our Structural Heart Program

The South Florida Valve Institute at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center works in tandem with South Florida Valve Institutes at JFK Medical Center, Northwest Medical Center, and Westside Regional Medical Center to provide patients the highest quality heart care. Our team consists of a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to offering patients an option to the invasive surgery of valve replacement. For our patients, that means the opportunity to reap the benefits of a better quality of life, usually without the need of anti-coagulation medication. Ultimately, survival rates are higher with mitral valve repair when compared to replacement.

More on the South Florida Valve Institute

Aventura Hospital and Medical Center is committed to pushing the boundaries of medical treatment by participating in groundbreaking clinical trials, and proudly to announce its participation in upcoming minimally invasive cardiac procedures.

Gore “REDUCE” Clinical Study

The Gore REDUCE Clinical Study is a prospective, randomized, multi-national clinical study which seeks to research the correlation between PFO defects and stroke. The study will answer whether PFO closure using the GORE® Septal Occluder, when added to antiplatelet medical management, reduces the risk of recurrent stroke or imaging-confirmed transient ischemic attack (TIA) in patients with a PFO and a history of cryptogenic stroke or TIA when compared to antiplatelet medical management alone.

If you know a patient between the ages of 18 and 59 who has been diagnosed with an ischemic stroke or suffer from recurrent strokes, think they may have PFO and would be willing to participate in this study please call our Clinical Research Department, (305) 682-7261.

What is Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib)?

A heartbeat should be soothing, not scary. If your heart “skips a beat” or flutters, not only can it be unsettling, it could be a condition known as Atrial Fibrillation. A-fib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). Approximately three million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with it. When Atrial Fibrillation and other arrhythmias occur, the electrical signals that coordinate the upper chamber of the heart become disorganized causing an irregular heartbeat. The irregular heartbeat disrupts the flow of blood through the heart.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation include:

  • Irregular or rapid pulse or heart beat
  • Racing feeling in the chest
  • Palpitations, or a pounding feeling in the chest
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Difficulty exercising

A-fib may not be life threatening if treated properly. It can be cured. It’s important to pay attention to your personal heart health by monitoring your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise regimen and nutrition. Choosing the right heart health partner is also important. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an A-fib specialist, please call (305) 682-6677.

Additional Resources

To read more about heart-related conditions and heart-related medical procedures, please visit our Health Library.