In the past thirty years advances in treatment have cut the rate of cardiovascular deaths in half.
And with the pace of technology today, even more lives will be saved.
Hear from medical staff on the front line of cardiac care in eastern Iowa in Health Plus:
Treatment options for heart patients are changing so quickly, cardiologists like Richard Valente enjoy the challenge of keeping up.
"It's been a marvel to see the advances as its progressed. Now we're in there within the first thirty minutes opening the artery up and putting stents in and doing things that were thought to be not even possible back then," he said.
At Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo technological advances have changed the way cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose and treat heart conditions.
"Where once they had to have open heart surgery they can come to the cath lab, have multiple vessels opened at once that before we couldn't do. Last year we did 1,300 cases with 2,300 procedures being done. That's about 6-8 cases a day," said Mary Ferrell, the manager of cardiology services.
The result is better outcomes and shorter recovery times for eastern Iowans with heart problems.
"So being able to repair valves without having to open the chest and that's probably the biggest advance in the interventional cardiology field," said Valente.
"As technology progresses you will see more patients who will be able to be treated in the cath lab," said Ferrell.
Covenant is opening a second cath lab in the near future.
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