Cardiology is a Work of heart.

St. Lukes & CVA Heart Facts Plan of Attack

The aorta is the body's largest artery. It's as thick as a garden hose, but even the aorta can become blocked by a small amount of plaque.

The heart is made of two atriums and two ventricles. A heart attack can damage one or more of these chambers, leading to heart failure later in life.

Arteries and veins carry blood to and from the heart – about 2,000 gallons every day. It's essential to keep them healthy and unclogged.

Heart Attack Facts

Heart attack symptoms usually last 15-20 minutes and can go on for hours. Your chances of survival and minimizing damage to your heart get better the faster you act.

Chest pain isn't the only sign of a heart attack. Many people experience nausea, dizziness, cold sweats or shortness of breath that can be confused for other illnesses.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women.

St. Luke's is Ready

St. Luke's offers immediate, 24/7 heart care with some of the shortest patient turnaround times, getting patients into the lab for diagnosis sooner.

CVA, the area's most experienced and trusted heart physicians, are ready to care for you at St. Luke's. They've treated thousands of patients and know the signs to look for.

St. Luke's uses the latest technology, diagnostics and emergency procedures. Choose St. Luke's for life saving heart care.

St. Luke's cardiology.

When does Heart Care become Heartfelt? When St. Luke's & CVA Join Together.

St. Luke's and CVA. Heart experts for the life of Siouxland.
Every heart is unique and beautiful. That's why you should trust your heart to the experts. St. Luke's and Cardiovascular Associates (CVA) have joined together, combining resources and expertise. Together, we're providing the best possible heart care for Siouxland.

By pairing the most respected physicians, outreach services and advanced procedures with patient- and family-centered care, we're keeping patients at the heart of everything we do. The right care in the right place for the very best outcomes – that's a work of heart.

  • The Most Experienced Physicians.
    • The physicians of CVA are some of the most experienced and respected doctors in Siouxland. As the area's only triple-accredited cardiology group, the physicians of CVA have been serving our community for over 35 years. There's no one better to keep your heart healthy well into the future. Meet the CVA physicians.
  • Acute Hospital Care.
    • CVA is the area's only cardiology group accredited in echocardiology, nuclear medicine and vascular diagnostic imaging. These non-invasive procedures use the latest technology in imaging to determine the best treatment options, addressing current heart issues and helping prevent future problems. Read more about St. Luke's cardiology services.
  • Outreach Services Where You Live.
    • St. Luke's offers an entire network of outreach care where you live, bringing the best procedures and experienced physicians to your community. Working together with your hometown hospital, we're making cardiology care a work of heart for the entire region.
  • Cardiology Clinics.
    • To strengthen our network of hospital-based and outreach services, St. Luke's also offers specialized Cardiology Clinics for improved and expanded care. Find a clinic.
St. Lukes CVA

YOUR HEART BEATS 100,000 times per day.

Take Care of it!

  • What is Heart Disease?
  • What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
  • What risk factors can lead to a heart attack?
  • What should I do if I'm having a heart attack?
  • Why can I trust St. Luke's and CVA?

Heart disease is an umbrella term for a number of heart issues including angina (a lack of oxygen to the heart), coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart attack.

A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction), happens when an artery is so blocked that it prevents enough blood from flowing to a section of the heart. If the flow isn't restored quickly, the muscle begins to seize and die. Heart attacks are treated with drugs, cardiac catheterization using stents or angioplasty and bypass surgery to open the blockage and restore the flow.

Every year almost one million Americans have a heart attack – that's one every 34 seconds. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. And 1 in every 3 Americans has some form of heart disease.


When most people think of a heart attack, they imagine terrible chest pain. While this is the most common symptom of a heart attack, other major symptoms can include:

• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Shortness of breath
• Cold sweats
• Pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, shoulder or jaw
• Numbness in the arm

In a survey from the Centers for Disease Control, 92% of people recognized chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack, but only 27% were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a heart attack. Learn the warning signs and call 9-1-1 if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.

Even if you think you could be having a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Remember, time lost is muscle lost.


High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are the biggest risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans have at least one of these three, according to the CDC. Several other factors can also increase your risk of heart disease:

• Obesity
• Poor diet
• Lack of exercise
• Frequent alcohol use
• Diabetes
• High stress levels
• Family history
• Older age
• Race (African Americans, American Indians and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians.)

  1. Recognize the symptoms.
  2. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  3. Take an aspirin.
  4. Sit down and wait for the ambulance; do not drive to the hospital. If you're having a heart attack, it's very dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car, and emergency medical professionals can care for you on the way.
  5. When the ambulance arrives, ask to be taken to St. Luke's.

Even if you think you may be having an attack, call 9-1-1. Heart attack victims have a better chance for survival if they get to the hospital within an hour of experiencing symptoms, but many people wait hours or even days before going.

Don't worry about looking silly or "overreacting." If you think you're having an attack – just call 9-1-1.


Fast, expert care – that's what you can rely on with
St. Luke's and CVA. With the area's most respected and recognized physicians, CVA is triple-accredited in echocardiology, nuclear medicine and vascular diagnostic imaging. They've been treating Siouxland patients for over 35 years.

In addition, St. Luke's offers immediate, 24/7 acute care with some of the region's shortest door-to-balloon times (the time that passes from a patient's arrival in the ER to the time they're treated in the cardiac cath lab). The faster you're treated, the higher your chances are for recovery. And St. Luke's keeps this at the heart of every patient's treatment.

Finally, with an outreach network, cardiology clinics and more, St. Luke's is your choice for rehabilitation and follow-up heart care with a patient-centered approach.

What's Your Plan of attack?

Do you know what to do in case of a heart attack? Or, better yet, how to prevent one from happening in the first place? Start planning for the future of your heart's health with these tips.

1. Start with Prevention

It only takes about 20 seconds to pump blood to every cell of your body. Pretty impressive. That's why keeping your heart and vascular system healthy is so crucial. You can prevent the progression of heart disease and heart attack with these tips from CVA and St. Luke's heart experts:

  • Maintain a Healthy Body Weight.
    • When your weight is in a healthy range, your heart doesn't have to work as hard, and you're less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and a number of other conditions. Losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart.
  • Exercise More.
    • Did you know that walking five days a week for 30-60 minutes can reduce your heart disease risk by 40%? Even walking at a slow pace decreases your risk. No matter your athletic ability, make an effort to get up and move, and you'll lower your chances of an attack. During the winter, you can even walk in St. Luke's tunnels to stay warm!
  • Clean up your Diet.
    • By altering your diet to cut back on saturated fat, salt and cholesterol, you can keep your heart healthier. Make your plate "colorful" and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like beans, fish and poultry. Foods including salmon, flaxseed, oatmeal and blueberries have even been proven to make your heart healthier. Consider trying one of these "Love Your Heart Recipes" from CVA.
  • Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol.
    • As if you needed another reason to quit smoking, about 20% of all heart disease deaths are directly related to smoking. And although a glass of red wine every now and then can help your heart, you should have no more than one or two drinks a day, as alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
  • Manage Stress.
    • Stress contributes to high blood pressure, which in turn stresses your heart. Control stress levels by getting enough rest, making time for hobbies and using relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Exercising and eating healthy will also help reduce stress.
  • Know your Risk.
    • Do you have a family history of heart disease? What about other risk factors like high cholesterol or diabetes? Know your risk, and have your heart numbers (cholesterol levels and blood pressure) checked regularly. Talk with your physician about these risk factors and chart a course of care if necessary.

2. Make a Plan

No one expects a heart attack. But 1 in 3 Americans have some form of heart disease, and many more have risk factors that could lead to it. Being prepared could safe your life or the life of someone you love.

  • Know the Signs.
    • Even if you think you're not at risk, know the signs of a heart attack and what to do if one happens. According to the CDC, almost half of all cardiac deaths happen outside of a hospital, meaning many people with heart disease don't act on early signs.
  • Keep Help Handy.
    • Just in case, make sure you have aspirin on-hand at home, work or in your wallet or purse. Other helpful things to keep handy include a list of current medications, drug allergies and emergency medical contacts. Download our Medication and Contact Card to fill out and keep with you.
  • Talk to your Doctor.
    • It never hurts to talk to your primary care physician if you have questions about heart health. Your physician can give you advice, conduct tests and develop a care plan to keep your heart healthy. Use our Ask Me 3 questions to start the conversation. You can also ask to be referred to a CVA cardiologist for more in-depth screening and diagnostic procedures to assess your heart health.
  • Talk to your Family.
    • Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a heart attack – that includes your spouse. Many people carry the misconception that heart disease is a "man's problem," but it's also the number one killer of women. Women can find more prevention information through our HeartCaring program.

Schedule a heart screening.

By scheduling a heart screening, St. Luke's and CVA can help catch potential issues and develop a prevention plan before they turn into something bigger.

Register for a Heart Screening Today!