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Interventional Cardiology

Interventional cardiology is a branch of cardiology that deals specifically with the catheter based treatment. Cardiovascular Medicine is known for having highly skilled Interventional Cardiologists. 


Cardiovascular Medicine has cardiologists on staff that specialize in performing interventional procedures. Interventional cardiologists require special training and experience in addition to their primary cardiology training. 


Interventional procedures are tests or treatments involving catheters that are inserted through large blood vessels in the groin (femoral) or wrist (radial). During cardiac catheterization a catheter is placed in the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries). Dye is injected so that the coronary arteries can be seen on a moving x-ray called fluoroscopy. This test is performed to identify narrowing or blockages in the coronary arteries. Dye may be injected into the chambers of the heart to evaluate the strength of the heart muscle. Special catheters may be placed in the heart to allow the cardiologist to measure pressure in the chambers and to evaluate the function of the heart valves. 

Blockages in a coronary artery can be treated with balloon catheters. The balloon catheter is inflated in the coronary artery to push the plaque against the walls of the artery. This is called angioplasty. Stents are often used with angioplasty to help prevent the blockage from reoccurring. A stent is a crisscross wire mesh which is inserted in a collapsed form, over a balloon catheter, to the site of the blockage. When the blockage is reached the balloon is inflated, leaving the stent in place to support the coronary artery.


Angioplasty and stent placement can also be performed in other blood vessels (peripheral arteries) of the body. This includes peripheral arteries in the legs and neck. This is called peripheral intervention. CVM has cardiologists that specialize in the intervention of peripheral blood vessels.


For patients with Atrial Fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder that can cause blood clots and higher risk of stroke, left atrial appendage closure (WATCHMAN™) may be a treatment option. WATCHMAN™ is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem who need an alternative to blood thinners. The implant closes off the left atrial appendage, preventing blood clots from moving out of it. Closing the left atrial appendage provides future protection against strokes that originate in the left atrial appendage. The cardiologist identifies potential candidates for the WATCHMAN™ implant. Once a candidate, there are standard testing requirements to confirm left atrial appendage size prior to the procedure and testing after to confirm heart tissue has grown over the WATCHMAN™ implant to ensure the left atrial appendage is permanently sealed.

If you would like more information regarding interventional procedures please feel free to contact us. 

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