You know that you need to visit your primary care provider once a year, but what about a heart specialist? Almost one in every four deaths in the United States is due to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Premature death is often prevented with treatment from a heart specialist. However, you…
What is Interventional Cardiology?
Intervention cardiology diagnoses and treats heart and vascular conditions with non-surgical options. Board-certified cardiologists handle the procedure, often working in the cardiac catheterization laboratory of hospitals. The procedures are mostly performed on the cardiovascular system, including the heart, veins, and arteries. Continue reading to learn more about interventional cardiology.
Overview of interventional cardiology
The incisions made by the cardiologist are usually about an inch, making the process minimally invasive. The cardiologist will pass the catheter through the femoral artery in the groin area or the radial artery. They will direct the catheter toward the heart and vascular region with real-time x-rays.
Interventional cardiology provides non-surgical interventions for cardiovascular diseases. By passing the catheter (thin, flexible tube) to the heart, the interventional cardiologist can eliminate blockages in the coronary artery to improve blood circulation, prevent heart attacks, fix valvular heart disease and treat peripheral vascular and peripheral artery issues. The use of catheter-based treatments reduces scarring and discomfort, ensures faster recovery, and minimizes the risks associated with invasive surgeries.
Interventional cardiovascular procedures
Some of the major procedures performed in interventional cardiology include:
The specialist will pass the catheter through the artery and guide it to the heart or another area. They will inject a dye through the arteries to serve as a guide during the stenting procedure. The catheter’s tip has a balloon that inflates to widen the artery and increase blood circulation to the heart. The doctor will then place a stent in the blood vessel to keep it open.
The cardiologist will put a burr or rotary shaver at the catheter’s tip and direct it to the affected area to remove any plaque or blockage within the arterial walls. Sometimes, they may use a laser catheter to eliminate the plaque.
Sometimes, when the detected narrowing or constriction is found in the carotid arteries or in a bypass graft, a specialized device like filters may be used to stop the plaque from detaching and circulating in the blood, resulting in damage.
Percutaneous valve repair
Four valves in the heart control blood flow inside the heart chambers. The interventional cardiologist will guide devices like clips with a catheter to the damaged valve via the blood vessels. They will then proceed to repair the valve with the device to restore proper blood flow.
The catheter’s tip is fitted with a balloon and passed through the blocked artery. The balloon inflates at the blockage site, compresses the plaque against the arterial wall, and creates space in the artery for blood flow. The doctor will remove the balloon afterward.
The specialist can implant multiple small battery-operated devices close to the heart to treat heart rhythm disorders. These devices could be an implantable pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
The above procedures are just some of the procedures covered within interventional cardiology. The treatments are completed in one appointment, and patients will return home on the same day unless the specialist recommends otherwise. You will receive specific instructions regarding the procedure so you can prepare adequately.
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