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Heart Services

Located on the second and third floors of NMMC's East Tower, the Heart & Vascular Institute provides inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services.

Nursing Units

The Heart & Vascular Institute includes nursing units on 2 West and 2 Central, and Telemetry beds which are located throughout the hospital.

2 West is an inpatient medical cardiology unit. Patients recovering from a heart attack, heart cath procedures, vascular procedures, congestive heart failure and other invasive and non-invasive studies are recovered on this unit.

2 Central is an inpatient cardiac surgery unit including 16 beds. Patients recovering from open heart surgery, heart valve surgery and other invasive cardiac procedures are recovered on this unit.

NMMC offers a state-of-the-art Centralized Monitoring System for patients needing constant heart rhythm monitoring. The system is staffed by highly-trained monitor technicians.

NMMC's 50-bed Critical Care Unit provides specialized intensive care to patients during critical stages of their hospital stay.

The Cardiac Outpatient Unit is a 25-bed short-stay outpatient unit for patients having a heart cath. Outpatients are admitted to this unit prior to their heart cath for pre-operative care. After the heart cath, most patients will recover in the Cardiac Observation Unit prior to discharge. Patients needing additional recovery will be admitted to an inpatient unit.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is used to gather information on the valves, chambers and arteries, as well as the heart's structure and function. This procedure can show a physician the precise location of a blockage or defect. Invasive procedures can be performed with special balloon catheters and stents to open blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the heart. NMMC was among the first hospitals in the nation to offer drug-eluting stents to reduce the rate of re-blockage.

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

The goal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation is to assist heart patients in recovery physically, mentally and socially and to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program is designed to restore each individual to a maximally productive, active and satisfying life. Physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, exercise specialists and counselors work closely with the patient and family. This program is also beneficial for individuals who are at high risk for heart disease.

Cardiac Rehab Phases

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeons perform more heart surgeries at NMMC than any other hospital in Mississippi. Procedures include coronary bypass, valve replacement, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), septal defect repair, MIDCAB, transmyocardial revascularization (TMR), the maze procedure, removal of myxomas, thoracic aneurysm repair and lung surgery. NMMC Heart & Vascular Institute case managers follow the patient from admission to discharge, providing surgery related information and assistance to the patient and family, and to appropriate NMMC staff members.

Chest Pain Center

NMMC’s 24-hour Chest Pain Center is equipped with the latest diagnostic technology to help cardiologists determine if the patient has already suffered a heart attack, is in danger of a heart attack, or if the chest pain is not heart-related. If initial tests in the Emergency Department are normal, the patient may be moved to the Chest Pain Center for a rapid but through evaluation. If the issue is heart-related, the goal is to prevent a heart attack. If not, the patient can be referred elsewhere to find the reason for the pain.


Echocardiography is a technique that sends sound waves into the chest to rebound from the heart's walls and valves. The recorded waves show the shape, texture and movement of the valves on an echocardiogram. Echo techniques provide information about conditions such as heart muscle contraction, valve motion, blood clots in heart chambers and scar tissue from heart attacks. NMMC's Echocardiography Laboratory is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories for adult transthoracic, adult stress and adult transesophageal echocardiography.

Echocardiography Laboratory


Electrocardiography is a testing method used to determine if the heart has been damaged.

Also called ECG or EKG, an electrocardiogram is a graphic record of the heart's electrical impulses. When an electrocardiogram is done, several wires, or "leads," are attached to the arms, legs and chest to allow the physician to take 12 different recordings at the same time. Each lead records the same electrical impulse, but from a different position in relation to the heart.

Electrophysiology Laboratory

The NMMC Heart & Vascular Institute is home to a state-of-the-art Electrophysiology Laboratory for the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. While cardiac catheterization studies the heart's muscle and circulation system, an electrophysiology study looks at the heart's electrical system. NMMC was among the first hospitals nationwide to offer cardiac resynchronization therapy, a new treatment for heart failure. NMMC is also the only hospital in Mississippi with advanced cardiac mapping capabilities, which detect complex abnormal heart rhythms.

Slow heart rhythms are usually treated by implanting a pacemaker just under the collarbone to continuously monitor the heart's electrical activity and generate an electrical impulse to stimulate the heart's contraction if it beats too slowly. When the source of an abnormally fast heart rhythm can be identified and disabled, catheter ablation is a treatment option. Catheter ablation delivers radiofrequency energy to destroy the abnormal cells responsible for the fast heartbeat. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which is similar to "shock paddles" used by emergency personnel to restore normal heart rhythm, can be implanted in a patient's chest.

Exercise Stress Test

A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps physicians find out how well the heart handles work. During an exercise stress test at NMMC's Heart & Vascular Institute, the patient wears a heart rhythm monitor and is asked to walk on a treadmill while being supervised by a physician. This exercise stresses the heart and allows the physician to evaluate the patient's heart rhythm, as well as how the coronary arteries respond to increased demand.

Holter Monitoring

Holter monitoring detects abnormal heart rhythms by recording the patient's heartbeat during a 24-hour period. The patient is asked to keep a diary of his or her activities while wearing the holter monitor, which consists of electrodes connected to the patient's chest and a special recorder that is worn around the patient's waist. After 24 hours, the holter monitor is returned to the NMMC Heart & Vascular Institute where a technician will scan the tape for a physician to interpret.

In some situations, patients wear a cardiac monitor that is similar to a holter monitor but that allows the patient to press a button to activate the event recorder during a cardiac rhythm disturbance, like a racing heart. With this monitor, the patient transmits cardiac event data from the recorder by telephone to allow for immediate evaluation by medical personnel.

Nuclear Stress Testing

NMMC's Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory evaluates how well blood flows to the heart muscle by using small amounts of radioactive materials. Nuclear cardiology can help identify patients who might benefit from angioplasty or bypass surgery. Images of the heart provided by special cameras detect the presence and severity of heart disease, especially coronary artery disease. The nuclear imaging procedures are performed in conjunction with exercise or pharmacological stress testing. Treadmill stress testing is performed to assess performance of the patient's cardiovascular system and to detect coronary artery disease.

Information on Nuclear Cardiology

Pharmacological stress testing is provided for patients who cannot exercise.


The NMMC Heart & Vascular Institute Teletrace Team uses telephonic monitoring to help identify early signs of possible pacemaker failure in cardiac patients. The Heart & Vascular Institute loans a transmitter to each pacemaker patient so that functions can be checked each month through a telephone connection. The transmitter is used along with the telephone to transmit a one-lead EKG/ECG to the receiver at the Teletrace office in the Heart Institute. A Teletrace technician prints a copy of the test, which is checked and interpreted by a physician.