Interventional Cardiology Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization

This test evaluates the presence, size, and location of plaque deposits in the arteries, the strength of the heart muscle, and the function of the heart valves. During cardiac catheterization, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the leg or wrist and gently guided toward the heart. Contrast dye is injected into the arteries of the heart so that the cardiologist can trace the movement of blood through the arteries and the chambers of the heart.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

The goal of PCI, also known as angioplasty, is to open up a coronary artery to restore blood flow. PCI can be an emergency treatment for a heart attack patient or a scheduled procedure to treat chronically inadequate blood flow to the heart. A cardiologist will choose the most appropriate tool to repair the heart vessels, depending on the patient's unique anatomy.

Balloon Angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty improves blood flow to the heart. A catheter with a balloon at its tip is guided up to the blocked artery. The balloon is inflated at the site of the blockage, stretching open the walls of the artery.

Atherectomy

This procedure uses a special pulverizing device to open hardened blockages in the coronary arteries. Atherectomy is often performed during a balloon angioplasty. In many cases, a stent is then inserted into the blockage.

Stent Implantation

After balloon angioplasty or atherectomy, a small metal coil or mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the artery. The stent is placed at the end of a catheter, inserted through a blood vessel in the leg or wrist, and guided up to the heart, where it keeps newly opened arteries from collapsing.

Emergency and Rescue Procedures: Hypothermia/Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump

Rarely, advanced procedures become necessary to rescue a patient whose condition is truly dire. These include intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) and other ventricular assistance devices, and hypothermia. With the IABP device, we assist the heart’s pumping action using a large balloon-tipped catheter that inflates and deflates in time with the heartbeat, augmenting blood flow in critical situations. Available at a fraction of hospitals nationwide, hypothermic cooling is used to rapidly reduce the body temperature of a heart attack victim to approximately 91 degrees Fahrenheit. This slows the brain’s metabolic rate to protect it from damage. Although we hope never to need to use these sorts of techniques, they are immediately available if the situation arises.

Patent Foramen Ovale Closure

During fetal development, a small opening in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart, called the foramen ovale, facilitates blood circulation from the mother to the baby. This opening normally closes during infancy. When the foramen ovale doesn't close, it's called a patent foramen ovale. Sometimes, this needs to be closed off, and until recently this required open-heart surgery. In our Cardiac Cath Lab, we are able to close these holes with an innovative, catheter-based technique.