Skip to main content


Unfortunately, heart disease is very common in Northern Illinois. But the cardiology care you can receive at CGH Medical Center is far from common. Whether you need preventive care for a congenital form of heart disease, urgent cardiac care for a heart attack or cardiac rehabilitation to help you recover after open-heart surgery, our cardiology team has your heart well in hand.

Cardiac and Nuclear Medicine

Heart disease can take many forms, and each type of heart disease requires a slightly different type of treatment. Getting the right kind of treatment matters, as the therapies you have now could help you to avoid a heart problem in the future.

At CGH Medical Center, we offer a unique form of testing that can help your doctor to understand your heart. It's called nuclear medicine. This subspecialty of radiology involves creating images based on the detection of energy emitted from a radioactive substance given either intravenously or by mouth.

Our caring cardiac and nuclear medicine staff has over 120 years of combined cardiology experience—no other staff in our area comes even close. Plus, our department has previously received the No. 1 patient satisfaction ranking among over 250 hospitals across the Midwest. In addition to identifying coronary artery disease issues, nuclear medicine can be used to:

  • Analyze kidney function
  • Scan lungs for respiratory and blood-flow problems
  • Identify gallbladder blockages
  • Evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor
  • Determine the presence or spread of cancer
  • Identify bleeding into the bowel
  • Locate the presence of infection
  • Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid

Call 815.625.0400, ext. 4456, to make an appointment or find out more.

Cardiology Cath Lab

If you or a loved one experiences a cardiac incident, rest assured that you're minutes away from the highest quality of care in our state-of-the-art cardiac cath lab, where our team of highly trained professionals can quickly and competently locate and repair blocked or narrowed arteries.

During a cardiac catheterization, your doctor will insert a catheter (a long, bendable, narrow tube) into your artery or vein and guide it into your heart. The doctor checks your heart's function and looks for narrowed or blocked arteries.

During the catheterization, the doctor may be able to open up a blocked artery with an angioplasty (balloon procedure). The doctor may also find that bypass surgery or medications are needed.

The CGH cardiac catheterization lab uses the state-of-the-art Phillips Integris Allura—the most advanced vascular diagnostic tool available. Exceptionally detailed images enable physicians to see and work in even the smallest vessels.

Our cardiac specialists have trained at some of the world's most renowned medical centers. Their expertise, teamed with innovative technology, is broadening CGH's scope of cardiac intervention and doing more to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

For more information on available treatments and catheterization procedures for coronary artery disease, call 815.625.0400, ext. 4800, or download our patient guide.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac Rehab Helps Your Heart Heal

In our cardiac rehab program, you'll find comprehensive care to help you recover from a heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, open-heart surgery or another serious cardiac problem. Our team will work with you, your family and your doctor to design a personalized plan that's focused on your recovery.

Our cardiac rehabilitation program progresses in phases:

  • Phase 1 begins in the hospital. Critical care nurses work with you to help you understand your heart issue, your risk factors and what you can do to change things for the better.
  • Phase 2 begins when you're at home and your doctor has referred you to our program. You'll come in for approximately one hour, three days a week, and perform supervised exercises. Participants in the CGH cardiac rehab program exercise on a variety of equipment, including recumbent bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, free weights and universal weights. The team will also teach you about living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Phase 3 treatment plans are guided by patient goals, needs and capabilities. Patients will discover their strengths and deficiencies while adjusting their lifestyles for optimal health.

Our cardiac rehab program hours are as follows, Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

  • Cardiac rehab: 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Phase 2 patients: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Phase 3 patients: 6:30 to 9 a.m. and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

For more information about cardiac rehab, call 815.622.9723. Physician referral is required.

Congestive Heart Failure

A congestive heart failure (CHF) diagnosis can leave you feeling scared and uncertain. Our CHF program offers both care and education, so you can understand your condition and avoid future trips to the hospital.

We start as soon as you're admitted to the ho spital with CHF or diagnosed with CHF, and we'll work closely with you to manage your health. Within three days of discharge, the CHF nurse coordinator begins working with you via weekly phone calls to discuss:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Medication
  • Signs or symptoms of CHF
  • Weight management

If you're at the highest risk of being readmitted to the hospital, you'll work closely with a cardiology nurse practitioner in the outpatient CHF clinic too.

For more information about the CHF program, call 815.625.0400, ext. 4426. Physician referral is required. Read more about this program.

Healthy Hearts (Heart Check)

There's a lot you can do to keep heart disease under control. We can help you understand how to do just that with our classes and screening programs.

For example, the CGH community services department offers free blood sugar and blood pressure checks at various locations several times every month. A low-cost cholesterol and glucose screening is also offered once monthly.  See our schedule here.

The CGH diabetes education department also offers a free prediabetes class every month to help you learn more about how you can avoid diabetes and its complications.

In addition, CGH partners with the Whiteside County Health Department to provide one-on-one counseling with a certified tobacco-cessation specialist.

If you're not certain of your heart disease risk, we can help with that too. HeartCheck of the Rock River Valley uses a LightSpeed CT scanner to produce computerized heart scans that give doctors fast, clear pictures of clogged arteries to examine the cause of chest pain, high blood pressure, cholesterol and other cardiovascular concerns, enabling early detection and more precise treatment of heart disease.

Physicians recommend you get a HeartCheck if you:

  • Are between the ages of 50 and 65
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Are a smoker
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Are overweight

HeartCheck of the Rock River Valley is available year-round for just $99. Gift certificates are available. For more information or to make an appointment, call 815.625.0400, ext. 5550, or email us.

Your Heart Health

Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases cause 1 in 3 deaths in the United States. High blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Other risk factors are overweight and obesity, prediabetes, unhealthy diet, and not getting enough physical activity.
Learn more about your healthy heart numbers and the symptoms of stroke below.

Know Your Healthy Heart Numbers

CGH has gathered the most important numbers relating to your heart health all in one place! Look below to see if your numbers fall in the healthy range—if not, contact your primary care physician at CGH for further advice or care.

Blood Pressure—measures the pressure put on artery walls when your heart beats and between beats.

  • Less than 120/80 mm Hg is normal
  • 120/80 to 139/89 is prehypertensive
  • 140/90 mm Hg or above is high

Cholesterol—know the “good”—HDL, the “bad”—LDL, and the fats—your triglycerides. The higher your HDL, the lower your chance of heart disease, while the more LDL and triglycerides you have, the greater your chance of heart disease.

  • Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL
  • HDL levels at 50 mg/dL or above are ideal
  • LDL levels should be below 100 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides should be below 150 mg/dL

Blood Sugar—a measure of how much sugar (glucose) is in your blood. High blood sugar can signal diabetes.

  • Fasting levels below 100 mg/dL are healthy
  • Fasting levels between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL are considered prediabetes
  • Fasting levels of 126 mg/dL or higher typically result in a diabetes diagnosis

Body Mass Index (BMI)—BMI indicates whether or not a person is overweight or obese.

Weight (in pounds)÷height2 (in inches) X 703 = BMI

  • 18.5 to 24.9 indicates a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight (excluding well-muscled individuals)
  • 30 or higher is considered obese

Waist Circumference—number of inches around your unclothed abdomen, just above the hip bone, can indicate your risk for some diseases like diabetes.

A measurement of less than 35 inches is desirable for a woman and less than 40 inches for a man.

Heart Attack? Chest Pain? Time is of the Essence.
As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, CGH Medical Center’s approach to heart care – using the newest methods and best practices – allows us to provide treatment in the critical first stages of a heart attack. The faster a heart attack is treated the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome of their treatment. CGH Medical Center is dedicated to providing our patients with the best heart care treatment available. If you think you might be having a heart attack, seek treatment immediately. Call 9-1-1.

Is it a Stroke?

Strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is blocked. This prevents oxygen from getting to the affected part of the brain. Cells in that area of the brain then begin to die. Depending upon which brain areas are affected and how long it was before treatment began, stroke survivors may suffer mild to severe disabilities.

Knowing the symptoms of stroke can help you get medical help fast. Symptoms include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Vision changes in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking or staying balanced
  • Severe headache
  • Double vision, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting

There are three simple tasks that can help you determine if someone is having these symptoms. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask him or her to:

  • Smile
  • Raise both arms
  • Coherently speak a simple sentence

If he or she has trouble performing any of these tasks, call 911 right away to seek Emergency Services with CGH.

We are committed to providing exceptional care for patients with stoke symptoms. In addition to being an Accredited Chest Pain Center, CGH Medical Center has also been recognized as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. This means our Emergency Department has the expertise and medication to diagnose and treat the stroke with advanced therapies to minimize the damage that occurs from the stroke. If a stroke requires even higher levels of neurologic expertise, we also have partnerships with excellent area treatment centers in order to rapidly transfer patients to ensure the best possible outcome for every stroke patient.

Meet our cardiology team

Our cardiology department features board-certified cardiologists and nurse practitioners who are adept at treating almost any heart condition. Visit our provider directory to learn more about the talented practitioners ready to see you.