Not all major heart problems require surgery. Often, interventional cardiologists can perform minimally invasive procedures using catheters to fix the heart and blood vessels and diagnose problems. “We consider most interventional cardiology procedures to be minimally invasive because they do not require a large incision,” says William K. LaFoe, MD, FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Instead, we insert a catheter (or hollow tube), use X-ray to guide it into the patient’s heart or vascular system and fix the problem.”
Common interventional cardiology procedures include:
- Balloon angioplasty – The doctor inserts and inflates a tiny balloon to unblock a clogged artery.
- Carotid stenting and stroke intervention – The doctor inserts a stent to expand the carotid arteries in the neck and prevent stroke.
- Congenital heart defect correction – Doctors can repair a wide variety of heart defects through heart catheterization.