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Cardiovascular Services

Interventional Cardiology

stethoscope shaped into a heartBalloon Angioplasty involves the insertion of a tiny catheter that can be directed through a major blood artery all the way to the heart. When blockages are encountered, an inflatable "balloon" at the tip of the catheter is expanded to push the fatty plaque against the artery wall, opening up the narrowed passage for improved blood flow.

Coronary atherectomy is another catheter procedure in which buildups of fatty plaque are actually cut away and removed from coronary arteries to improve blood flow, relieve angina and help prevent heart attacks.

Cardiac stenting is often used in conjunction with other procedures such as balloon angioplasty or atherectomy. This catheter-based procedure inserts an expandable wire mesh tube into a diseased artery to serve as an internal framework that holds the vessel open.

Drug-eluting stents have been utilized in the treatment of coronary artery disease since 1993, and their use has significantly reduced the recurrence of blockages in the arteries. Drug-eluting stents, a new milestone in stent technology, combine the mechanical support of a stainless-steel coronary stent with a thin drug coating on its surface. When a bare metal stent is implanted in a blocked artery, there is a risk that the buildup of plaque will recur around the stent several months after implantation, a condition called restenosis. If this happens, additional procedures may be required. Restenosis is one of the greatest challenges in the long-term treatment of patients with coronary artery disease. Drug-eluting stents are a dramatic technological advancement, which have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of restenosis among patients. These stents are lined with medication which inhibits the buildup of plaque in the artery directly around the stent, allowing blood to flow.

doctor outside emergency roomOpen Heart Surgery

Derek D. Muehrcke, MD - a recognized leader in the field of open heart surgery- is Board Certified in Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and leads Flagler Hospital's open heart surgery team.

The team consists of specially trained staff throughout every aspect of the heart program, including emergency care, OR, critical care, monitor banks and the cardiac catheterization lab. The information below provides some detail about available procedures.

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABS) creates a detour or bypass around a narrowed or blocked portion of a coronary artery and allows for the blood to flow more freely to the heart.
  • Heart valve replacement is open heart surgery in which a defective valve that cannot be repaired is replaced with either a biological or a mechanical valve.
  • Maze procedure is an open heart surgery that corrects atrial fibrillation by creating a new pathway through which electrical signals travel to control heart rhythms.
  • Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is the surgical removal of a plaque-clogged layer within the carotid artery, thus opening the vessel and restoring normal blood flow to the brain.


Electrophysiology assesses the electrical activities of your heart, and helps diagnose and treat heart rhythm abnormalities. Tests are done to evaluate activities of the heart, such as complex arrhythmias, elucidate symptoms and abnormal electrocardiograms. The assessment of this problem can lead to the implementation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

Medical Cardiology

Flagler Hospital provides a full range of non-invasive services for our cardiology patients. We use a wide range of services including EKGs, stress tests, prevention strategies, cholesterol screenings and medication to help prevent and control emerging cardiac conditions. If these methods are not effective, a more invasive Interventional Cardiology procedure may be required.