St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Heart and vascular services

    Circulatory system; Vascular system; Cardiovascular system

    The body's cardiovascular, or circulatory, system is made of the heart, blood, and blood vessels (arteries and veins).

    Heart and vascular services refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the cardiovascular system.


    The heart's main job is to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body. It normally does this 60 - 100 times a minute, 24 hours a day.

    The heart is made of four chambers:

    • Theright atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body. That blood then flows into the right ventricle, which pumps it to the lungs.
    • The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs. From there, the blood flows into the left ventricle, which pumps blood out of the heart to the rest of the body.

    Together, the arteries and veins are referred to as the vascular system. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins carry blood back to the heart.

    The cardiovascular system delivers oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other important substances to cells and organs in the body. It plays an important role in helping the body meet the demands of activity, exercise, and stress, and also helps maintain body temperature, among other things.


    Cardiovascular medicine refers to the branch of health care that specializes in the treatment of diseases or conditions dealing with the heart and vascular systems.

    Common disorders include:

    • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
    • Congenital heart defects
    • Coronary artery disease, including angina and heart attack
    • Heart failure
    • Heart valve problems
    • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
    • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
    • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
    • Stroke

    Physicians involved in the treatment of circulatory or vascular diseases include:

    • Cardiologists, doctors who have received extra training in the treatment of heart disorders
    • Vascular surgeons, doctors who have received extra training in heart and blood vessel surgery
    • Cardiac and thoracic surgeons, doctors who have received extra training inheart-related surgery and pacemaker implantation
    • Primary care doctors

    Other health care providers who areinvolved in the treatment of circulatory or vascular diseases include:

    • Nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs), who focus on heart and vascular diseases
    • Nutritionists or dietitians
    • Nurses who receive special training in the management of patients with these disorders

    Imaging tests that may be done to diagnose, monitor, or treat diseases of the circulatory and vascular system include:

    • Cardiac CT for calcium scoring
    • Cardiac MRI
    • Coronary angiography
    • CT angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
    • Echocardiogram
    • PET scan of the heart
    • Stress tests (many different types exist)
    • Vascular ultrasound, such as carotid ultrasound
    • Venous ultrasound of the arms and legs


    Minimally invasive procedures may be done to diagnose, monitor, or treat diseases of the heart and vascular system.

    In most of these types of procedures, a catheter is inserted through the skin into a large blood vessel. Such procedures usually do notneed general anesthesia. Patients often do not need to stay in the hospital overnight. They recover in1 to3 days and can usually return to their normal activities within a week.

    Such procedures include:

    • Ablation therapy to treat cardiac arrhythmias
    • Angiogram
    • Angioplasty (using a small balloon to open a narrowing in a blood vessel) with or without stent placement
    • Cardiac catheterization
    • Measuring pressures in and around the heart

    Heart surgery may be needed to treat certain heart or blood vessel problems. This may include:

    • Heart transplant
    • Insertion of pacemakers or defibrillators
    • Open and minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery
    • Repair or replacement of heart valves
    • Surgical treatment of congenital heart defects

    Vascular surgery refers to procedures that are used to treat or diagnose a blockage in a blood vessel. Such procedures include:

    • Arterial bypass grafts
    • Endarterectomies
    • Repair of aneurysms of the aorta and its branches

    Procedures may also be used to treat arteries that supply the brain, kidneys, intestines, arms and legs.


    Cardiac rehabilitation is therapyused to preventheart disease from getting worse. It is usually recommended after major heart-related events such as a heart attack or cardiac surgery. It may include:

    • Cardiovascular risk assessments
    • Health screenings and wellness exams
    • Nutrition and lifestyle counseling, including smoking cessation and diabetes education
    • Supervised exercise


    Neschis DG. The cardiovascular system.In: Bope ET,Kellerman R, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2012. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 7.

    National Heart Lung and Blood Institute web site. “What is the heart?” Accessed Dec. 15, 2011.


    • Heartbeat


    • Coronary artery disease ...


    • Animation

    • Heartbeat


    • Coronary artery disease ...


    • Animation

      A Closer Look

      Talking to your MD

        Self Care

          Tests for Heart and vascular services

            Review Date: 2/7/2012

            Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile