Cardiac Care and Surgery

St. Francis provides award-winning, comprehensive cardiac care, including:

  • 24/7 emergency treatment
  • Chest Pain Center
  • Three cardiac catheterization labs
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • Intensive Care with specially trained staff
  • Use of special technology, including Impella heart pumps
  • Cardiac Monitoring offered throughout St. Francis-Downtown
  • Advanced cardiac imaging, including cardiac CT and MRI, vascular ultrasound and digital echocardiography
  • Cardiac, vascular, and pulmonary rehabilitation

Chest Pain Center

While chest pain is one of the most commonly recognized symptoms of a heart attack, it can be difficult to tell whether your chest pain is caused by your heart or another problem—particularly if you have no previous heart conditions. St. Francis Chest Pain Center is staffed by hospitalists and cardiologists 24 hours a day to help determine the cause of chest pain.

Located just steps away from the emergency room, the eight-bed Chest Pain Center allows those who arrive with chest pain to bypass the ER and be monitored and tested quickly. The Chest Pain Center is fully equipped with diagnostic equipment, and physicians and specially trained staff perform non-invasive tests such as nuclear and echo stress tests, EKGs, and blood chemistry tests to arrive at a rapid diagnosis.

If you are found to have heart problems, you will be admitted to the hospital and have access to St. Francis Heart Care. If tests show your chest pain is not caused by a heart condition, we offer conveniences such as a shower area so you can clean up and return to your normal activities.

Cardiac Care Unit

St. Francis’ eight-bed Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) was created to optimize clinical excellence and attention to the needs of the whole person. The result is a state-of-the-art, beautiful, and convenient unit that improves our patients’ experiences.

The CCU is located near the Chest Pain Center, catheterization labs, operating rooms, and telemetry unit to ensure smooth transport to and from procedures. The unit is the first in the Upstate to use state-of-the-art, flexible medical arms over each patients bed instead of the traditional fixed head wall system. This overhead system allows caregivers to position the medical equipment in the best way to meet patient needs while offering convenient access to all members of the health care team.

Because St. Francis believes in healing the whole person, the CCU was created using design and materials shown to best promote healing, incorporating touches like abundant use of natural lighting, high ceilings, and calming colors.

Patients' families also can enjoy beautiful new waiting areas and consultation rooms that are located on the same floor, close to their loved one. There is even a special elevator dedicated to the CCU that brings family and friends from the ground floor directly up into the CCU waiting area.

Cardiac Catheterization and Heart Surgery

For many patients, treatment of serious heart concerns starts with a cardiac catheterization. St. Francis has three dedicated cardiac catheterization labs equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows physicians to pinpoint problem areas and even treat them on the spot during the procedure.

  • A cardiac catheterization allows physicians to see arteries that may be narrowed or blocked, as well as open the narrow area using balloon angioplasty and placing stents to hold the arteries open.
  • Patients with heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation may have cardiac ablation to treat irregular heartbeats.
  • Patients who have arteries that are completely blocked often need coronary bypass surgery.

Impella Heart Pump

The Impella heart pump is the world's smallest heart pump, which can be inserted in the catheterization laboratory through a standard guide wire. It goes through the femoral artery, across the aortic valve, and into the left ventricle of the heart. It pumps blood from the left ventricle into the ascending aorta and provides critical blood supply to vital organs. It temporarily takes over the pumping function of the heart and provides time needed to initiate lifesaving interventions. The Impella moves the blood through the heart and to the other organs five times faster than other devices, allowing the heart to rest and, in some cases, recover. Other similar types of cardiac support devices require cardiothoracic surgical placement through the chest, far more of a strain on the patient at a time of crisis. Because the device is catheter-based, it is easier to insert. The Impella pump can be used for:

  • Acute heart failure 
  • High-risk cardiovascular conditions 
  • Long-term treatment 
  • Bridge to transplantation