Chest Pain Treatment

Chest Pain Treatment in Burlington, VT

If your chest pain is determined to be related to cardiac causes, such as a heart attack, Fletcher Allen cardiac specialists offer a broad range of treatments. 

Leader in Cardiac Care

As the region’s advanced cardiology program patients have 24-hour access to cutting-edge technology and the latest therapies available. You have the benefit of working with highly trained and experienced cardiologists, who are on the frontiers of developments in cardiac medicine. 

In addition, all aspects of cardiac care at Fletcher Allen are supported by a team of knowledgeable and skilled nurses and other health care practitioners. These caring professionals are instrumental in providing you with the highest quality care available, and the support you need. 

Advanced Treatment, Advanced Expertise

If you and your cardiologist determine that a procedure is the best course of treatment to address your condition - or in the case of an emergency situation - then at Fletcher Allen you have access to highly specialized care provided by our "sub-specialists." Sub-specialists are cardiologists with advanced training and expertise in a particular area of cardiology, and are typically found only at a tertiary, or advanced-level care centers like Fletcher Allen - the only center of this kind in Vermont. 

The sub-specialists involved in the treatment of chest pain are: 

  • Interventional cardiologists – Cardiologists with advanced training in non-surgical procedures for treating cardiovascular disease, such as angioplasty and stent placement. They use catheters – thin, flexible tubes – which are threaded through a patient’s blood vessels to perform diagnostic tests, clear clogged arteries and repair heart structures, often avoiding the need for surgery.
  • Cardiothoracic surgeons – Surgeons with advanced training in operating on the heart and performing “open-heart” procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery. They have special expertise in operating on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and major blood vessels of the chest cavity.

Chest pain treatment options at Fletcher Allen include:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments
  • Interventional Treatments, including:
    • Angioplasty
    • Stenting
    • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Non-Surgical Treatments

Medication can be a very effective option for treating chest pain.  At Fletcher Allen, we offer the full range of medical therapies and the latest medicines available to treat your condition.  Possible medications used in treating chest pain, include:

  • Aspirin – Aspirin inhibits blood clotting and helps maintain blood flow. Scientific studies have shown that aspirin can significantly reduce death rates when taken during a heart attack.
  • Thrombolytics – These drugs help dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to your heart. If you live in an outlying area and are transferred to Fletcher Allen, you may receive these medications at your local hospital, before coming to Fletcher Allen for an angioplasty or stenting procedure.
  • Nitroglycerin – This is a medication for treating angina, a recurring pressure or tightness in the chest. Nitroglycerin temporarily widens narrowed blood vessels, improving blood flow to and from the heart.
  • Beta blockers – Beta blockers help decrease the demand on your heart, helping the heart muscle to relax, slowing your heart rate and lowering blood pressure. They have been shown to reduce some types of chest pain and to improve survival after a heart attack.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – These drugs allow blood to flow from your heart more easily. They also lower blood pressure and may prevent a second heart attack.
  • Calcium channel blockers – In cases of coronary artery spasm, these medications may be given to relax the coronary arteries and prevent spasm.

Interventional Treatments

If your chest pain is determined to be caused by a heart attack, you may undergo heart attack treatment such as a balloon angioplasty and stenting procedure in Fletcher Allen’s state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

We treat cases of heart attack as a Level 1 trauma, with a team of interventional cardiac experts available within minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to open blocked arteries.

Our highly skilled and knowledgeable providers offer the latest heart attack treatment while maintaining a dedication to educate you and your family about all aspects of your therapies and/or surgery.  

Pioneering New Treatments

Fletcher Allen cardiac specialists are also researchers and scientists pioneering new and improved treatments for patients, including the use of the gene therapy to treat chest pain caused by coronary artery disease

Angioplasty

Our cardiologists insert a catheter with a special balloon into a blocked coronary artery. The balloon is inflated to open up the artery and restore blood flow to the heart.  

This service is the only one of its type in Vermont and a leading program in the region, performing approximately 5,000 catheterization procedures each year. 

Fletcher Allen’s cardiology service is proud to be among the best in the nation for its “door-to-balloon” time – the amount of time from when a patient arrives at the hospital to when a balloon is inserted into his or her blocked artery. Recent data show patients’ arteries are being opened in 65 minutes or less at Fletcher Allen – well below the national guideline. 

Stenting

This procedure is usually performed with angioplasty. It involves inserting a stent — a tiny wire mesh device — into a blocked artery to keep it open, restoring blood flow to the heart. Stents are inserted using a catheter, after a balloon is used to open the artery. 

Angioplasty and stenting procedures are critical for patients suffering a certain type of heart attack. This type of heart attack can be diagnosed with an EKG and is characterized by a completely blocked artery. The amount of time it takes to open a blocked artery can make the difference between life and death.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Some patients who suffer a heart attack may need coronary artery bypass surgery, which is performed by Fletcher Allen's cardiothoracic surgeons.

With this more invasive procedure, surgeons open the chest and insert new blood vessels in the heart. These vessels are taken from other parts of the body and connected to the heart. They create a new pathway that bypasses clogged coronary arteries and allows blood to flow normally.

We have a considerable history of performing coronary artery bypass surgery. Cardiac surgeons have performed thousands of life-saving cardiac surgeries at our organization for more than 50 years. 

Fletcher Allen voluntarily publishes quality of care reports on its Web site about coronary artery bypass surgeries performed by our cardiothoracic surgeons. These reports provide a wealth of information, including safety, recovery time, the number of surgeries we perform and patient satisfaction scores. 

Find a Fletcher Allen Health Care physician or call 802-847-4600.