minimally invasive approach to diagnose, evaluate, and treat blockages in the cardiovascular system
Interventional cardiology is a minimally invasive approach to diagnose, evaluate, and treat cardiac, valve, and vascular disease. Most procedures—ranging from a test of heart function to replacement of a diseased valve—are completed through a small, hollow tube called a catheter. This catheter is placed in an artery and expertly guided into the diseased area. Procedures performed by interventional cardiologists are usually short and require a minimal hospital stay.
The New England Heart & Vascular Institute (NEHVI) harnesses advanced technologies in our state-of-the-art catheterization labs. In addition, we have a 24/7, highly-trained cardiac team to perform life-saving interventions for someone experiencing a heart attack and/or cardiac arrest. Our interventional cardiologists are among the most skilled in the region at using leading-edge treatments for heart and valve disease like TAVR, MitraClip® and CardioMEMS™.
Our interventional services include:
A cardiac catheterization is a procedure that measures how well your heart is working, whether you have blocked arteries, or diseased valves or muscle. During a cardiac cath procedure, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in your arm or leg and fed into the heart. Instruments can go through this tube to measure pressure, take blood or tissue samples, or inject dye for an x-ray of the heart (angiogram).
Catheterization also enables surgical procedures in the heart, such as stent or balloon placement or valve replacement.
Coronary angioplasty, stenting and atherectomy
Catheterization allows for a number of procedures to clear blockages in coronary (heart) arteries. In an angioplasty, a balloon like device is placed into the artery and opened to clear a blockage. Similarly, a coronary stent can be placed in a blocked artery to restore blood flow to the heart. This mesh like tube is placed in the artery to widen the opening. During an atherectomy, a scraping tool is placed through the catheter to clear plaque from the arterial wall. During these procedures, the cardiologist watches an x-ray or other live image of the heart to guide the catheter and the tools. These procedures are common treatments when someone has had a heart attack.
Coronary intravascular ultrasound and flow measurement
An intravascular ultrasound is a way for cardiologists to “see” inside an artery. This imaging can help guide a procedure or give a clearer picture of damage to the artery from disease or a cardiac trauma (such as a heart attack). An intravascular ultrasound may be used to measure the artery, detect blood clots or check that a stent has been placed properly.
Peripheral vascular angioplasty and intervention
Similar to procedures to clear blockages in the coronary arteries, angioplasty, stenting, and atherectomies can be performed to treat peripheral vascular disease. These procedures remove or push away the plaque that causes peripheral arteries to harden (a condition called atherosclerosis) and helps improve blood flow throughout the body.
Our facilities include state-of-the-art catheterization labs and a hybrid operating room. The hybrid OR enables our interventional cardiologists to perform a catheter-based intervention in a surgical setting, allowing the cardiac surgeons to assist immediately if heart surgery is needed.