Interventional Services and Procedures
Interventional Cardiology focuses on the catheter-based treatment of structural heart diseases. A large number of procedures can be performed in the heart and vascular (veins and arteries) system through minimally invasive procedures performed in a Catheterizaton Lab.
These minimally invasive procedures most often involve the insertion of a catheter (hollow tube) into the femoral artery in the upper leg or radial artery in the wrist. The catheter is guided toward the heart or vascular area through the use of real-time X-ray.
Interventional cardiology procedures are considered to be minimally invasive because they require large incisions.
Balloon Angioplasty involves creating space in a blocked artery by inserting and inflating a tiny balloon, which compresses the plaque blocking the artery against the wall of the artery, so blood can flow more freely. The balloon does not remain in the body. This procedure can be done electively at a scheduled time or emergently during a heart attack.
Intracoronary Stenting involves permanently inserting a tiny stainless steel wire-mesh tube called a stent to keep arteries open following a balloon angioplasty. Both bare-metal and drug-eluting (medication-releasing) stents are available.
Carotid Stents and Stroke Intervention involves the insertion of a stent to expand the carotid arteries. Carotid arteries are located on each side of the neck and extend from the aorta in your chest to the base of the skull, supplying blood to the brain. If a clot or plaque blocks the blood flow to the brain, it can cause an ischemic stroke, which can cause brain damage or death.
Intravascular Ultrasound involves passing a small catheter into a coronary artery to emit sound waves that produce an image of the blockage. This image provides the physician with needed information as to how to best manage the blockage.
Pacemaker Insertion is provided to patients with abnormally slow heart rhythms, congestive heart failure and those at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Wires, called leads, are inserted into the chambers of the heart. When proper positioning and conduction is confirmed, a small generator is connected to the leads and permanently placed just under the skin.
Peripheral Vascular Disease Intervention involves the evaluation of diseases of the blood vessels outside the heart, known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Balloon angioplasty and stenting may be used.
Peripheral Atherectomy involves cutting through plaque in the blood vessels outside the heart. The plaque is reduced to particles smaller than red blood cells. The result is a smoother inner surface of the vessel, resulting in increased blood flow through the artery.
Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) is a guide wire procedure that can accurately measure blood pressure and flow through a specific part of the coronary artery. FFR is done through a catheter at the time of a cardiac catheterization. The measurement of FFR has been shown useful in assessing whether or not to perform angioplasty or stenting on intermediate blockages.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) are intended to treat patients at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest. An ICD is a small device surgically implanted through a small incision under the skin near the shoulder. It uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening, irregular heartbeats, especially those that could lead the heart to suddenly stop beating.
Biventricular Pacemakers are used to treat patients with moderate to severe heart failure, certain conduction problems or those whose heart failure symptoms persist despite the use of medications. These devices help coordinate the pumping action of the heart by sending electrical signals to both ventricles, allowing the heart to pump more effectively.
Device Closure of a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), a small, flap-like opening in the wall between the right and left upper chambers of the heart, is a nonsurgical procedure that uses a special implanted device (PFO occluder) designed to close the PFO. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin area and guided to the heart. The PFO occluder is inserted through the catheter and placed through the opening. Once the device is situated correctly, it is left in place and the catheter is removed. In a few months, tissue grows over the device and normal blood flow is restored.
In normal fetal development, a PFO occurs naturally before birth and usually closes within weeks or months after a baby is born. In at least one of four people, this opening persists throughout life. It generally is a harmless condition with no signs or symptoms. In some individuals, the opening may allow small blood clots to move into the left side of the heart which can lead to a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), which occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients.