Catheterization-Based Procedures (Interventional Cardiology)
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Interventional cardiology deals specifically with procedures involving the use of flexible catheters. The catheter (a narrow tube) enters the body through the groin or arm, and is then guided through major arteries into the heart chambers, or into the carotid or peripheral arteries. Interventionalists perform balloon angioplasty, stenting and ablation, opening of blockages, closing of congenital holes in the heart and treatment of valvular abnormalities. MDCA cardiologists specialize in the following areas:
- Cardiac Catheterization. Cardiac catheterization involves the use of a catheter that's inserted through blood vessels and guided using moving fluoroscopic x-ray images. Procedures include left heart catheterization to check the left heart valve's function, and right heart catheterization to check the right heart valve's function and the heart's pumping action from the veins to the lungs.
- Coronary and Peripheral Angiography. This procedure produces x-ray images of arteries and veins using a contrast dye to check for such conditions as blood vessel narrowing or enlargement, blockages and possible leakages.Coronary angiograms look for blockages or other abnormalities in blood vessels in the heart, whileperipheral angiograms are instead performed on the lower extremities of the body, including around the kidneys, abdomen, arms and legs.
- Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting. Coronary balloon angioplasty is used to open blocked coronary arteries. It is done hand-in-hand with stenting procedures which insert a tiny wire-mesh stent. The stent works as a “scaffold” to keep the blockage propped open. Many stents release medications that are designed to prevent arteries from renarrowing after they have been opened.
- Carotid Artery Stenting. Similar to coronary artery angioplasty and stenting, carotid artery stenting is a procedure involving the use of a flexible catheter to widen a narrowing in the carotid artery due to plaque (material that builds up on the inner surface). The carotid arteries, extending from the aorta to the brain, supply blood directly to the brain, face and scalp.
- Renal Artery Stenting. Renal artery stenting, also similar to coronary artery stenting and carotid artery stenting, treats blockages and narrowing of the renal arteries that can reduce blood flow to the kidneys and thus compromise kidney function.
- Lower Extremity Angioplasty, Atherectomy and Stenting. These procedures are used to open blockages in the legs and feet, often referred to as peripheral artery disease (PAD) and to relieveclaudication or cramping of the calves or thighs.
- Percutaneous PFO, ASD and VSD Closures. These procedures involve closing holes between heart chambers due to congenital defects, including atrial septal defects (ASD) involving the upper heart chambers, ventricular septal defects (VSD) affecting the lower chambers, and patent foramen ovale (PFO) resulting in a small hole between the left and right atria.
- Percutaneous Balloon Aortic and Mitral Valvuloplasty. Percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty is used when a valve does not completely open because of narrowing, sometimes caused by valve stiffness. The procedure is used to treat the mitral valve, which is located between the left atrium and ventricle; the aortic valve located between the left ventricle and the aorta; and the pulmonary valve, located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
- Percutaneous Ventricular Assist Devices. Recent research has fine-tuned ways of percutaneously applying a ventricular assist device (VAD) - a mechanical pump that aids the damaged heart in pumping blood throughout the body. It provides support to a weakened heart by taking over the left ventricle's workload, and often allows the heart a chance to heal.
- Alcohol Septal Ablation for Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). Alcohol septal ablation is the best non-surgical option for treating symptomatic HOCM, a condition caused by thickening of the heart muscle. Similar to left heart catheterization, the procedure involves a catheter releasing alcohol into the heart to reduce excess heart muscle of an enlarged septum.
- Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS). Intravascular ultrasound refers to obtaining images of the arteries from an ultrasound catheter that is placed inside the blood vessel. It is used to assess blockages when the angiogram is not able to provide an accurate image to decide on the severity of the blockage.
- Colin M. Barker, M.D., FACC, FSCAI
- John M. Buergler, M.D., FACC, FSCAI
- Neal S. Kleiman, M.D., FACC, FSCAI/Chief, Section of Interventional Cardiology
- C. Huie Lin, M.D., Ph.D., FACC
- George Schroth, M.D., FRCPC, FACC, FSCAI
MDCA cardiologists perform these procedures in a full catheterization laboratory using state-of-the-art heart catheter equipment. They are experienced in assessing the full spectrum of heart conditions and use cardiac catheterization as an important tool to assess a patient’s overall heart health and to direct his or her treatment. To make an appointment with an MDCA cardiologist experienced with catheterization-based procedures, please call 713-441-1100 (Pearland patients, please call 713-441-9909).