Begin your heart health journey.

When it comes to the health of your heart, you likely have more questions than answers. One of the most important questions being – where do I start?

At Georgia Heart Institute, from the moment you schedule an appointment with one of our experts, our team will help you navigate the entire process, providing guidance and innovative care at every step of the journey.

We bring together patient navigators, program coordinators, dedicated cardiologists and renowned surgeons who all work together to provide heart care that’s distinctly yours. Whether you are in the first steps of your journey – connecting with a cardiologist for the first-time or coming in for a diagnostic procedure – or you have a more advanced heart or vascular condition, we’re here to help.

Georgia Heart Institute provides unmatched heart and vascular care when it matters most, caring for you – and your family – for a lifetime.

Our program brings together distinguished cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, patient navigators and program coordinators to overcome even the most advanced and complex conditions. Enriched with research and a culture of continuous improvement, we provide the therapies and treatments of tomorrow to our patients today.

Let us help you take the first step on your journey to keep your heart its healthiest now and for a lifetime.

Questions to Consider

How do I know if I need heart care?

Depending on your health history and unique care needs, your primary care provider may help you determine if specialized heart care is recommended. However, you can reach out and make an appointment with a non-invasive cardiologist without a referral.

If you simply want to understand and protect your heart health, you might start with our Primary Prevention services through our Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Metabolism and Lipids.

If you have risk factors for heart disease or a history of smoking, a cardiologist can help with prevention and early diagnosis. Cardiac calcium scoring is an inexpensive, non-invasive diagnostic for individuals who have no symptoms, but are concerned about certain risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or family history.

Finally, if you experience any abnormal symptoms that are not an emergency, seeking heart care will help ensure effective diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Angina – chest pain, tightness or pressure
  • Discomfort, weakness or tingling sensations in your legs or arms, which could indicate narrowed blood vessels
  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal pressure or pain
  • Racing, slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue, especially becoming easily tired doing everyday tasks
  • Edema – swelling in the feat or hands
Do you have specialized programs for people who want to prevent heart disease?

Yes! Georgia Heart Institute’s Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Metabolism and Lipids is dedicated specifically to patients in the early stages of their heart health journey, either those with certain concerns or risk factors, or those who have some sort of heart diagnosis that needs monitoring.

Learn more about our Prevention Center and call our coordinator to get started with the program.

What are the risk factors of heart disease?

There isn’t just one cause of heart disease, there are several different factors that can increase your overall risk. These include risk factors that you can control, like diet and exercise, as well as those you can’t, like age and family history. It’s important to keep in mind that while having one or more risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. The first step is to identify your unique risk factors and work with a trusted cardiologist to effectively manage them.

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Do heart disease symptoms differ between men and women?

Yes, women do experience signs and symptoms that differ from men, which can lead to heart disease being diagnosed less or later in women. Women have some unique risk factors for heart disease that should be considered, including diabetes, mental health issues or depression, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, menopause, chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy or complications of pregnancy. If you have these risk factors, you may be at risk of heart disease and simple, noninvasive diagnostic procedures can help keep your heart healthy.

The following symptoms of heart disease are more likely for women to experience than men:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal pressure
  • Pain in the arms
  • Sweating
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

Georgia Heart Institute offers a specialized heart care program for women, with providers who have unique experience in diagnosing and treating heart disease in women. Our program also offers a specialized patient navigation service to help women address all their heart health needs, enriched with the latest research on women’s heart health and advanced treatment options.

Learn more about our Women’s Heart Center.

What type of heart or vascular doctor should I see?

Most patients will start by seeing a noninvasive cardiologist, sometimes referred to as a general cardiologist, to start the process.

As a comprehensive cardiovascular program, Georgia Heart Institute does offer several different specialties to better suit your unique needs. In some cases, an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist may require a referral. A few of these include:

  • Interventional Cardiologists: A cardiologist that provides catheter-based procedures and treatments for cardiovascular and structural heart diseases.

  • Electrophysiology: A cardiologist providing specialized care and to manage and treat heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias).

  • Structural Heart: An interventional cardiologist that collaborates with a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon to treat structural heart disease using minimally invasive techniques.

  • Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeons: Cardiothoracic surgeons have expertise in treating complex diseases of the heart and coronary arteries, as well as diseases impacting the structure and organs of the chest, including the lungs and esophagus, through minimally invasive or open-heart surgery.

  • Vascular Surgeons: Vascular surgeons specialize in treating conditions and diseases related to the vascular system through minimally invasive, surgical or endovascular approaches.
Do I need a referral?

You do not need a referral to get started with a cardiologist at Georgia Heart Institute today. You can easily book an appointment online to begin your journey toward improved heart and vascular health.

If you know that you need more advanced services, you may need a referral. Our general, non-invasive and interventional cardiologists take appointments without a referral, but cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, cath lab procedures and electrophysiology or heart failure services require a referral.