What is Interventional Cardiology?
Interventional cardiology involves the insertion of thin, flexible tubes to diagnose and treat narrowed or blocked blood vessels and faulty heart valves. The tubes, called catheters, are threaded through arteries and veins, in a minimally invasive procedure that can mean less pain, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.
Interventional Cardiology Specialist
Torrance Memorial's board-certified Interventional Cardiology specialists care for patients in our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab, which has surgical suites equipped with the latest digital imaging technology to help guide interventional procedures with precision.
These experienced cardiologists are now using, the radial or wrist artery as their access point in addition to the femoral artery in the groin. This means that patients have even less pain and bleeding and therefore, faster recovery times.
For patients suffering from heart blockages and peripheral vascular disease, we perform the following procedures:
With this procedure, X-rays are taken after a contrast agent is injected into an artery to locate the narrowing, occlusions, and other abnormalities of specific arteries.
A Coronary Angiogram is a series of x-ray pictures showing the internal contours of blood vessels, which feed the heart (Coronary Arteries) and is taken during a Left Heart Catheterization. This diagnostic test is usually performed when a patient is suspected of having narrowing or blockages of the Coronary Arteries. Narrowing or blockages of the Coronary Arteries is called Coronary Artery Disease. Your physician may suspect that you have Coronary Artery Disease based on your history, symptoms or recent stress test.
A Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiogram can help your doctor determine how best to treat you. Based on the findings of your Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiogram you may need:
- No additional treatment
- To be treated with medication
- A coronary intervention
- Coronary by-pass surgery
A cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic study of the heart. Coronary Intervention, which is often done during a cardiac catheterization, is a type of treatment for blocked or severely narrowed coronary arteries, a known as "hardening of the arteries," Arthrosclerosis is a disease in which the arteries are hardened and narrowed because of plaque, which has built up along the insides of the artery walls. While some forms of arteriosclerosis occur naturally over time, arthrosclerosis involves an unnatural build up of plaque, which is made up of fats (lipids), cholesterol (lipoproteins), calcium and other materials. These masses of plaque may eventually lead to a partial or complete blockage of the blood flow through the artery. Coronary Intervention is the treatment of a patient with hardening of the arteries. Coronary Intervention refers to several possible methods of treatment that your doctor can use to attempt to open your blocked or severely narrowed coronary arteries.
Coronary Angioplasty (Stent Placement)
With this procedure, a balloon is used to create a bigger opening in the blood vessel to increase blood flow. Although angioplasty is performed in other blood vessels elsewhere in the body, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to angioplasty in the coronary arteries to permit more blood flow into the heart. PCI is also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).
Innovated Interventional Cardiac Procedures
CTO Catheter Technique
Over the past several years, powerful techniques have evolved to open partially occluded and occluded coronary arteries. These techniques include angioplasty, stenting, and the newest technique, CTO, which is used for completely occluded arteries. Currently under the leadership of Dr. R. Michael Wyman, Torrance Memorial is one of three sites in the United States currently testing and developing the CTO catheter technique.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
TAVR is the name for a new procedure in cardiology and cardiac surgery that enables patients with a condition called severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic heart valve opening) to receive a new heart valve without undergoing open-heart surgery. Traditionally, the primary treatment for aortic stenosis has been surgery. However, certain patients with severe stenosis were considered too sick for surgery.
As a result of a pivotal new Partner Trial, the FDA has approved the use of the Edwards' Transcatheter Heart Valve, which utilizes a minimally invasive procedure to implant a new valve using a method very similar to the implantation of a stent. Therefore, these patients can now receive a new valve without surgery and there is now hope for those whose conditions were previously thought to be untreatable.