Why Choose CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute?

Access. At CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, you have access to the state’s largest and most diverse network of heart specialists. And we are close to home with services in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Hot Springs, Searcy and Conway and more than 25 community locations.


Latest Treatments and Technology for Heart Disease

We use the latest treatments for all forms of heart disease -- from common problems to rare or life-threatening conditions. Whether you've been referred for diagnostic testing, cardiac treatment or disease management, your best interests are at the heart of every medical recommendation we make and care option we provide.

With access to 10 cath lab procedure rooms, 6 CV operating rooms, 40 dedicated cardiology critical care beds and over 60 telemetry beds the CHI St Vincent Heart Institute has the resources to care for a variety of patients. Our support team includes advanced practice providers, perfusionists, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers, and dietitians. With this breadth of specialties we our patients get comprehensive care tailored their individual health concerns and wellbeing. Our group of more than 50 heart specialits bring the diversity necessary to treat each patient's specific condition.

ACE Accredited Cardiac Cath Labs

The cardiac cath labs at CHI St Vincent Infirmary and CHI St Vincent North are the first 2 ACE accredited cath labs in the state of Arkansas, with the cath lab at the Infirmary also holding chest pain accreditation.  We see a multitude of procedures including

  • Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath or heart cath) is a procedure to examine how well your heart is working.
  • Stenting - a procedure used to open clogged heart arteries
  • CTO - minimally invasive technique used to treat patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO), or complete blockages, of the coronary arteries.
  • EP studies and ablations - used to treat heart arrhythmia

We bring together the state’s largest group of cardiologists with cardiothoracic surgeons and critical care intensivists to provide comprehensive care to our patients.


Hot Springs Heart Center provides comprehensive services and the latest technology in one convenient location. CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

CHI St. Vincent Infirmary has been ranked since 2012 by U.S. News & World Report as a top regional hospital by achieving high performing status for heart-related categories. We are one of two Arkansas hospitals, and fewer than 20 in the United States to receive Ace Accreditation for Cardiac Excellence for our cath labs. We do more than 3,000 catheterizations a year. Our Jack Stephens Heart Unit offers exceptional service and amenities.

CHI St. Vincent has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Gold Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. The CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock earned the award for meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for quick, appropriate treatment through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming into the hospital directly or by transfer from another facility.

CHI St. Vincent North hospital’s heart services include a STEMI program that provides life-saving treatment for patients experiencing a heart attack.

CHI St. Vincent Morrilton also has advanced emergency capabilities to diagnosis heart problems.

Our partners also include with Conway Regional Medical Center and Unity Health – White County Medical Center where our cardiologists take care of patients close to home.


It’s All About You

We are leading the way in heart care, shifting the focus from procedure to program, from individual doctor to a team of specialists and primary care, from disease to whole-person wellness. Our team includes CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic Arkansas (the state's largest cardiology group) as well as heart surgeons in Little Rock and Hot Springs. From aggressive diagnostic routines to the latest surgical procedures to heart health education, we offer comprehensive care close to home.

Learn about our care for heart disease. Hear our patient stories

Does Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis Increase With Age?

As many as one out of every 25 Americans over age 60 will be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia also known as AFib. That number rises to 1-in-10 over age 80. While atrial fibrillation diagnosis may increase with age, though, this heart condition can develop at any age. Many patients as young as their 20s and 30s will face an atrial fibrillation diagnosis and while it is treatable, it can also be associated with other heart conditions when diagnosed at a younger age.

“For some people, the first time they roll into the ER with a stroke is the first time they ever heard they have atrial fibrillation,” said CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Mangaraju Chakka. “Many people will feel there’s something abnormal in their heart rhythm, but they may not be able to tell they have AFib.”



Regardless of the age when a patient is diagnosed, the risks associated with atrial fibrillation are very real. This irregular heart beat can lead to heart failure, blood clots or even a stroke.

Atrial Fibrillation Causes

Atrial fibrillation occurs when someone experiences rapid, disorganized electrical activity in the two upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria. Those pulses can range from between 300-to-600 beats per minute, compared to a normal resting heart rate that doesn’t exceed 100 beats per minute. These rapid signals cause the heart to contract quickly and irregularly, which is known as fibrillating. This irregularity causes blood to pool in the upper chambers instead of circulating into the heart’s two lower chambers. That leaves the heart’s upper and lower chambers out of sync and the heart begins to lose efficiency.

Atrial fibrillation diagnosis may be linked to hereditary in some rare cases, but anyone has a chance of developing this common heart condition. Still, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of someone developing atrial fibrillation. Some of those risk factors include:

  • Hypertension or uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, thyroid conditions and sleep apnea
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Other existing heart conditions like coronary artery disease or heart valve disease

Regardless of the cause of atrial fibrillation, it’s important to understand that while symptoms may last for a few minutes or hours before suddenly stopping, the heart arrhythmia itself is always present.

Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms and Signs

Not every heart arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation and some arrhythmias may be less or more concerning depending on other health factors. That means it is important to know and recognize atrial fibrillation symptoms and signs.

“It may be something very benign, like a little fluttering in the chest to a racing of the heart. You may feel your heart pounding or feel extra beats to symptoms like shortness of breath when you try to do things,” said Dr. Chakka. “Sometimes people may feel dizzy like they’re going to pass out.”

Dr. Chakka says the most important thing to do is to visit with your cardiologist for a diagnosis. Once you know what you have, you’ll understand whether it is serious or not and take the next steps with your cardiologist to determine the best atrial fibrillation treatment for you. If you do not already have a cardiologist or would like to learn more about this condition, the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute has a list of doctors who treat atrial fibrillation in Arkansas. You can also use CHI St. Vincent’s free, online tool to determine your risk for atrial fibrillation.

Accreditations for Excellence in Heart Care

Mission LIfeline Award Mission LIfeline STEMI Award
Gold Plus Get with the Guidelines - Stroke silverstrokequalityaward
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Cardiovascular Patient Care