Comprehensive Cardiac Services

Southcoast is the leading provider of cardiac services in the region

The Southcoast Cardiovascular Service program provides a broad spectrum of cardiovascular services locally, including open heart procedures, cardiac catheterizations, coronary angioplasty, cardiac implantable devices and structural heart services.

Southcoast performs more cardiac catheterizations than any other community hospital system in Massachusetts, with approximately 60 percent of patients needing advanced treatment such as coronary artery bypass or angioplasty. Southcoast’s state-of-the-art Electrophysiology Laboratories at Charlton Memorial Hospital provides diagnostic testing for cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation (A-fib) as well as invasive electrophysiology procedures such as arrhythmia ablations.

Southcoast’s cardiac surgery program has brought unprecedented access to advanced cardiac services to the region and has received exemplary reviews and outstanding patient satisfaction since its inception.

And cardiac services at Southcoast continue to grow and advance. Southcoast recently broke ground on the Harold and Virginia Lash Heart and Vascular Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital. The new venue will house Southcoast Health’s expanding Cardiovascular Services, including a state-of-the-art hybrid operating room.

Open Heart Surgery

In 2002, Southcoast was the first community hospital in Massachusetts to offer open heart surgery as part of a new program in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Southcoast performs more than 300 open heart surgeries each year, and has incorporated the best training techniques with the best technology to build a first-class program that has unsurpassed surgical quality and patient satisfaction.

Considered one of the top programs in the country, the Southcoast heart surgery program consistently reaches 100 percent in patient satisfaction scores. This success relies on a dedicated team of surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and staff who work daily to care for our patients.

Interventional Cardiology

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is performed when doctors suspect a serious heart vessel blockage. While viewing a computerized video screen, cardiologists are able to thread a thin catheter through an artery in the leg, maneuver the catheter up to the heart vessels and pinpoint blockages or other heart problems. This test can define what type of further treatment is needed.

Southcoast hospitals perform more cardiac catheterizations than any other community hospital in the state, providing this advanced service to more than 2,000 patients annually. Our state-of-the-art cath labs at St. Luke’s and Charlton Memorial Hospitals offer heart patients the best level of advanced diagnostic facilities anywhere.


Charlton is one of a handful of community hospitals in the state that offers elective angioplasty services.

Specially trained cardiologists perform angioplasty in our advanced cardiac cath labs. In this procedure, a catheter is guided to the vessel blockage and the balloon is gently inflated, opening the blockage and restoring blood flow to the heart. A stent — a tiny, flexible scaffold — is left in place to keep the vessel from closing again.

Electrophysiology & Heart Rhythm Services

Your heart is a pump — and a spark plug. And if the pumping and electrical functions don’t work together, then your heart might stop working.

Southcoast’s Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) Lab, based at Charlton Memorial Hospital, offers the very latest diagnostic and treatment technology for heart rhythm problems.

A highly skilled team of physicians, nurses and technologists offer comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm problems. Treatment options offered include atrial fibrillation ablation, pacemaker and defibrillator implants, cardiac resynchronization and drug therapies.

Laser Lead Extraction

When pacemakers and other heart-pacing devices are implanted in a patient, doctors expect they will last the patient’s lifetime. However, sometimes it may be necessary to replace the device because of infection or device failure. In these cases, patients can find comfort knowing that Southcoast offers an innovative, less invasive and more effective option for removing leads — the wires attached to the device that follow blood vessels into the heart muscle. Using a laser device to break up scar tissue around the leads, our cardiologists can safely and more easily remove the device before implanting a new device.

Valve Clinic

Valve disorders affect the valve’s ability to regulate blood flow through the heart. A valve problem can occur when a valve is not opening appropriately (stenosis), or the valve is insufficient (regurgitation).

The Southcoast Valve Clinic includes expert cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists who deliver the highest quality of heart care to patients with complex valve disorders.

The valve clinic team performs a full evaluation to determine a patient’s best treatment plan for valve repair or valve replacement.

Some common valve disorders include:

  • Aortic stenosis.
  • Aortic regurgitation.
  • Mitral stenosis.
  • Mitral regurgitation.
  • Tricuspid regurgitation.

Structural Heart Program

The Southcoast Structural Heart Program is the only program of its kind in the region and one of only a handful of dedicated structural heart programs in all of New England.

Structural heart disease includes valvular disease, congenital heart disease, connective tissue disease and complex coronary disease, among other conditions that may not involve coronary arteries or the electrical system of the heart. Patients, who in the past have needed to travel outside the region, are now able to be evaluated and treated at Charlton Memorial Hospital by a multidisciplinary cardiac team that includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and support staff who work together with referring physicians to develop a specialized treatment plan for each patient.

Cardiac Testing Centers

Southcoast offers a full range of cardiac testing services with five locations in the South Coast region. Our credentialed staff utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to help us offer our patients early detection, advanced treatment and appropriate follow-up care for cardiovascular disease.

The services we offer can identify life-threatening problems so physicians can take action early.

Services offered include echocardiography, carotid ultrasound, stress testing and more.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Southcoast has one of the largest Cardiac Rehabilitation programs in New England, with about 50,000 visits each year. The program — which includes cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab and medical fitness — helps heart patients develop healthier lifestyles through supervised exercise, counseling and education and offers special programs for people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and respiratory problems.

Patients participate in structured programs that help them find ways to alter their lifestyle to include habits that promote heart health.

Heart Failure Clinics

The nurse practitioners at the Heart Failure Clinics offer unique services in collaboration with the patient’s cardiologists to help manage the patient’s health in the critical weeks to months following hospital discharge, with the goal of improving quality of life and reducing readmission.


When it comes to cardiac care, Southcoast strives to not only provide a wide-range of services, but to achieve the highest degree of clinical excellence. Those efforts are showing.

In November, The Joint Commission, a leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States, recognized Southcoast as a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® for its performances in heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. Southcoast Health is the only healthcare system on the South Coast, Cape Cod and Islands, and Plymouth to earn this recognition.

Southcoast was also recognized by Healthgrades® as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care, Cardiac Surgery and Pulmonary Care, as well as among the Top 5 percent in the Nation in Patient Safety and a recipient of the Patient Safety Excellence Award.