Cardiovascular Medicine has several cardiologists on staff who specialize in interventional cardiology. Interventional cardiologists require special training and experience in addition to their cardiology training.
Interventional procedures are tests or treatments which involve catheters which are threaded from a large artery to the heart. During cardiac catheterization, tips of catheters are placed in the coronary arteries. Dye is injected so that the arteries can be seen by the doctor on a moving x-ray called fluoroscopy. This test is performed to identify narrowing within the arteries. Dye can also be injected into the chambers of the heart to evaluate the function of the heart muscle. Special catheters can also be placed in the heart, allowing the cardiologist to measure pressure within the chambers and to evaluate the function of the heart valves.
If there are any narrow areas in a coronary artery, balloon catheters are threaded to this area. The balloon is inflated within the coronary artery to push the plaque against the walls of the artery. This is called angioplasty. Often, stents need to be placed at the area of the angioplasty to prevent the narrowing from reoccurring. A stent is a crisscross wire mesh which is threaded in a collapsed form, over a balloon catheter, to the site of the narrowing. Once the narrowing is reached, the balloon is inflated, leaving the stent in place to support the walls of the blood vessel.
View an animation of the Deployment of a Stent into a Coronary Artery.
These procedures can also be performed in other arteries (for example, femoral and carotid arteries) in the body. This is called peripheral intervention. CVM has physicians who specialize in the peripheral vasculature care and intervention.
Further detailed information on the above topics may be available in other areas of our website, however, if you would like further information regarding any interventional procedure, please feel free to contact us.