Cardiovascular pathologists are experts in the science that deals with the structure and form of tissues and organs of the body and in the natural history of disease. They play an important role in your care because they test all kinds of specimens to find out why disease starts, what makes it worse, and how it can be treated. They help determine whether your condition is caused by certain medicines or toxins or by a part of the heart that is not working properly. Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular pathologists are listed in the professional staff directory.
Even though pathologists’ work is done in a laboratory, they are a vital part of your cardiovascular-care team. For example, using powerful microscopes, pathologists can look into the heart’s cells. And, it is the pathologist who decides whether the patient’s body is accepting a new, transplanted heart. With this knowledge, doctors can provide the appropriate medicines and treatment to reverse rejection. Pathologists also look at the tissue and blood cells that form on blood-contacting surfaces of artificial devices (such as stents, valves, blood vessel grafts, heart assist devices, and artificial hearts) implanted in the body. The pathologists can then tell doctors and researchers whether good or bad cells have formed on the implants’ surfaces and whether these implanted “biomaterials” can be used safely.
Cardiovascular pathologists are an important part of the research teams at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. For more details, see Summary of Research, and for a list of just a few of our pathologists' advances, see Cardiovascular Pathology at THI.
Updated October 2013