Cardiac Catheterization & Interventional Cardiology

Cardiac Catheterization

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the narrowing of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that overlie and supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle), caused by a buildup of fatty material within the walls of the arteries.

Cardiac Catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure to help diagnose coronary artery disease/atherosclerosis, valvular heart disease , and congestive heart failure.  In a cardiac catheterization, a small hollow tube (catheter) is introduced and advanced from the leg femoral artery or arm radial artery  through the aorta into the heart.  The catheter is directed into the coronary arteries and contrast dye injected into the arteries to create a road map of the heart circulation.  The use of fluoroscopy (x-ray) assists the physician in the location of blockages in the coronary arteries as the contrast dye moves thru the arteries.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)/Stent Placement

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty( PTCA) is a minimally invasive procedure used to open blocked coronary arteries caused by coronary artery disease and restore circulation to the heart muscle. A special catheter with a balloon at the tip is inflated once the catheter is placed into the narrowed area of the artery (stenosis).  Inflation within the artery causes stretching of the artery and compresses the fatty blockage into the side walls of the artery and effectively creates a larger arterial opening.

A stent is a metal scaffolding device, similar to a spring in a ballpoint pen.  A stent expands across the coronary blockage to help prop the vessel open.  The newer stents (drug eluting stents or DES) are coated with special medication to balance the healing process and overgrowth of scar tissue within the stent.