Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina at Aiken Regional

Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina Aiken Regional Medical CentersFor high-quality cardiac care, there’s no need to go anywhere other than the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina at Aiken Regional. The Institute's skilled cardiology staff provides patients a caring atmosphere.

With warmth and consideration, advanced technology can feel very friendly. The Cardiovascular Institute's clinical staff put a patient’s comfort first, explaining procedures like catheterization, echocardiography, metabolic stress testing, thrombolytic therapy and open heart surgery. Treatment includes medication or surgery and preventive education programs challenging patients and their families to embrace new, rewarding lifestyles.

Prevention & Education

The Cardiovascular Institute encourages you to learn more about healthy lifestyle practices associated with nutrition, fitness and stress management. Becoming more informed is a major part of heart wellness. The institute offers a variety of special programs including:

  • Weight Wise
  • Aerobic and Yoga Classes
  • CPR Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Diabetes Education Programs

Diagnosing Heart Disease

One of the best ways to reduce the chance of heart damage is to discover the problem early, and today’s advanced diagnostic capabilities allow cardiologists to use noninvasive diagnostic tests including:

  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) trace your heart rhythm and can diagnose an acute heart attack as it is happening.
  • Color doppler echocardiography and transesophageal echocardiography uses sound waves to track blood flow through the heart. Physicians can gain accurate information about cardiac abnormalities from these color images.
  • Holter monitoring takes the ECG a step further. By recording your heart’s activity 24 hours a day, it lets your cardiologist detect irregularities.
  • Treadmill stress testing measures and records the heart’s electrical activity while you exercise, which allows your cardiologist to evaluate cardiovascular functions under stress.
  • The Nuclear Medicine Department uses radioisotopes to help diagnose many cardiac diseases and disorders.
  • Cardiac catheterization is a more invasive but relatively comfortable test that can identify the source of a heart problem. Performed in the catheterization lab at the Heart Center, the procedure involves placing a small, flexible catheter into a patient’s artery. The catheter is threaded through the body into the heart. Dye is injected into the heart, and detailed images are captured on videotape. Blocked, narrowed arteries are then visible for assessment by the cardiologist.
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), a three-dimensional sound wave device, reveals the exact size of the coronary artery associated with plaque accumulation.


The Cardiovascular Institute offers an individualized approach to heart care. As medical technology continues to advance, the scope of heart treatment options broadens. Some treatments involve specialized medications, while others may require surgery. Treatment selection depends on many factors, including the time that has lapsed since symptoms began and a patient’s history of heart disease. Every patient is different, and the cardiologists assess each patient individually.

Noninvasive Treatment
Thrombolytic therapy uses medications to dissolve arterial clots and let blood flow normally. The earlier the clot-dissolving drugs are used, the better chance cardiologists have of avoiding serious, irreversible heart damage.

Supplemental oxygen can be provided to the cardiac muscle during a heart attack to help the heart work easier.

Medications that improve blood flow to the heart can be given after a heart attack to lower the body’s demand for oxygen and treat or prevent irregular heart rhythms.

Rest is another important aspect of treatment after a heart attack, especially resting the heart muscle. You can reduce strain on the heart by resting quietly in bed, and the Heart Center monitors a patient to ensure that the heart is not overtaxed.

Invasive Treatment
Coronary angioplasty uses a balloon-tipped catheter that is inserted in the arteries of the heart and then inflated, compressing plaque build-up against the artery wall and letting blood flow normally.

Artherectomy is the insertion and inflation of a balloon-tipped catheter. However, an artherectomy differs from a coronary angioplasty in that it removes plaque to allow proper blood flow, decreasing the risk of future blockage.

Coronary stents are small metal "cage-like" structures that act as "scaffolding" when inserted, holding a narrowed artery open so that blood can pass through freely.

Coronary artery bypass surgery is a more complex procedure, which improves blood flow in blocked heart arteries, and valve surgery, which replaces or repairs damaged or scarred heart valves.


Cardiac rehabilitation is crucial to a successful recovery, so the staff educates patients on heart disease and the importance of nutrition and special activities that will restore them to health and a more active lifestyle. At the Heart Center, comprehensive individualized rehabilitation helps reduce risk for future hospitalizations. Rehabilitation is done in two phases. Phase two is conducted in conjunction with the University of South Carolina, Aiken and provides a program to improve your level of physical fitness and help you return to normal activity as soon as safely possible.

Know the signs of a heart attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest for two minutes or more
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms, or back
  • A tingling or dull ache in the left arm
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • A feeling of fullness in the chest

Inside Aiken Regional: Intelligent Medicine

Learn more about the life saving medical services available to you right here, close to home.

Angioplasty >
Cardiac CT >
Echocardiography >
Intravascular Ultrasound >
Stents >
Emergency Services >

For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5551.

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For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5551.

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Know the signs
of a heart attack
  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest for two minutes or more
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms, or back
  • A tingling or dull ache in the left arm
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • A feeling of fullness in the chest
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American Heart

Types of heart disease include heart failure, an irregular heartbeat – or arrhythmia – and heart valve problems.

Learn more about heart disease and conditions that can lead to heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

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Leading the Way
in Best Practices

ARMC participates in the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) D2B (Door to Balloon) Alliance™. D2B is a best-practice guideline for patients having a heart attack. ACC developed the D2B initiative to decrease the time it takes to restore blood flow to the heart of an emergency room patient who arrives with chest pain. We continue to work with state and local groups on ways to transmit EKGs from ambulances en route to the hospital, so that staff and physicians are prepared before the patient arrives. Learn more about this groundbreaking initiative.

Aiken Regional Medical Centers is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.        

Aiken Regional Medical Centers

302 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

© 2015 Aiken Regional Medical Centers. All rights reserved.


Note:The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither Aiken Regional Medical Centers, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.          

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