Interventional Cardiology - -

Interventional Cardiology

For certain heart conditions, interventional cardiology may present a lower risk alternative to invasive surgical procedures. With the help of X-ray guidance, doctors can access the heart by inserting catheters and wires through arteries in the wrist or groin to fix a variety of issues, from blockages in coronary arteries to holes in the heart wall.

While the field of interventional cardiology is not new, the procedures offered within it are constantly evolving. Continued refinements have led to better techniques and equipment and therefore, better results. Healthcare providers continually look for newer technologies and techniques to provide the most up-to-date care for their patients.

There are a variety of cardiovascular conditions that can be treated this way. The most common ones include heart attacks, severe chest pain (angina) related to coronary heart disease, and other conditions that might affect a person’s quality of life. It can also be used to treat or replace problematic heart valves, prevent stroke, fix aneurysms, and even insert pacemakers.

Interventional Procedures

From the Heart: Gary

Gary Fairchild from Wallingford, Pa. had a completely blocked artery and suffered a heart attack. Thanks to interventional cardiologist Muhammad Raza, M.D. he's here to talk about it today.


Angioplasty uses a catheter with a small balloon at its tip. Once the catheter has been guided to the proper place in the heart, the balloon is filled with air. This presses the plaque against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow. In some cases, a catheter may be used to remove a blood clot. Crozer-Keystone has performed more than 4,000 of these procedures since 1992.


Using catheterization, arteries are reopened by inflating a tiny balloon at the site of the blockage (“angioplasty”). Sometimes a stent, which is shaped like a tiny tube, is inserted to maintain the passageway. With triple-A, the aneurysm shrinks onto the stent.

Rotational Atherectomy

Rotational atherectomy is occasionally used to open a blocked coronary artery in patients with heavily calcified plaque. Once the catheter has been guided to the narrow section of the artery, a high-speed instrument is used to cut through the plaque.

Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation

Radiofrequency catheter ablation uses radio waves sent through a catheter to the heart muscle to permanently block the abnormal pathway followed by the electric signal.

When is Interventional Cardiology Preferable to Surgery?

When it comes to treating certain heart attacks, interventional cardiology is the gold standard, since it can be done quickly and effectively. When a heart attack occurs from a blockage in an artery, for example, balloon angioplasty might be performed to restore normal blood flow.

It’s also often more desirable than open-heart surgery since general anesthesia is not required and a patient doesn’t need to spend multiple days in the hospital. The risks are reasonably low and patients can typically leave the next day.

Additionally, interventional cardiology is a great option for patients who are deemed too “high risk” for surgery, which often occurs when age is a concern or if they have an illness that would put them at great risk during surgery.

Patients who receive heart therapy in this way are also at a lower risk of infection and can even avoid unpleasant pain and scars that result from surgery.

To learn more about interventional cardiology, be sure to speak with your doctor to see if this is the best approach for you.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about interventional cardiology or request an appointment, please call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573) or request an appointment online.