During heart catheterization, a long, thin tube known as a catheter is inserted in a vein or an artery leading to the heart. Guided by live X-rays, the catheter is guided through a blood vessel until it reaches the heart, where our expert team of cardiovascular doctors is then able to carry out a variety of diagnostic tests or administer heart treatment, such as a coronary angioplasty to open clogged arteries.
The advantage of catheterization is that it’s far less invasive than traditional surgeries. Because the catheters are so small, it also greatly decreases the risk of scarring and pain. Treatment is typically quick. You’ll often be able to return home the same day.
Our network of interventional cardiologists perform advanced diagnostic procedures to ensure we get an accurate picture of your heart health. These procedures include angiography, cardiac biopsy and intravascular ultrasound. Some of the cardiovascular and heart conditions that heart catheterization can identify include:
- Congenital heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart valve problems
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
The experienced team of cardiologists at The CommonSpirit Health Heart & Vascular Network provide a number of interventional procedures to treat heart issues. We continue to prioritize your health, focusing on offering the latest approaches available.
Some of the catheter-based treatments we provide include:
- Percutaneus transluminal coronary angioplasty—To treat blocked arteries, a balloon catheter is guided to the site of the blockage. The balloon is inflated for a few seconds to compress the blockage against the artery wall. This may be repeated a few times.
- Intra-aortic balloon pump—To help with circulation, a small helium-filled balloon is inserted into the aorta. When the heart fills with blood, the balloon inflates, augmenting blood pressure. When the heart contracts, the balloon deflates causing a vacuum effect. This can help reduce the workload on your heart and increase blood flow. The inflation is controlled either by a pacemaker, a pre-set rate, an electrocardiogram, or the patient’s blood pressure.
- Stenting (drug eluting and bare metal)—This is a small tube usually made of plastic or metal that helps blood move past blockages or narrow blood vessels. Drug eluting stents are coated with medication that can prevent cell growth. This is helpful in preventing restenosis, or a re-narrowing of a blood vessel.
- Temporary and permanent pacemakers—A pacemaker is a small electrical device that is implanted into the chest or abdomen. It uses small electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate for patients with arrhythmia.
- Automatic implantable coronary defibrillator (ICD)—Similar to a pacemaker, an ICD is a small, electrical device implanted in the chest or abdomen. It keeps track of your heart rate and, if it detects anything abnormal, will deliver electrical pulses to the heart restore a normal rhythm. This can help prevent sudden death and cardiac arrest in patients with more severe heart issues.