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What Does An Interventional Cardiologist Do?

August 20, 2020

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, there’s a chance that your cardiologist may arrange for you to see an interventional cardiologist. An interventional cardiologist treats cardiovascular disease using multiple non-surgical procedures. The procedures don’t require any large incisions or instruments. They are considered to be minimally invasive.

According to the American Medical Association, Interventional Cardiology uses specialized imaging and other diagnostic techniques to evaluate blood flow and pressure in your coronary arteries and chambers of the heart. They’ll also use technical procedures and medications to treat abnormalities that impair the function of your cardiovascular system.

So, let’s take a look at some of the conditions an interventional cardiologist treats and some of the procedures they perform.

Conditions Interventional Cardiologists Treat

Clinical issues usually managed by interventional cardiologists include:

  • Ischemic heart disease: A narrowing of the arteries which supply the heart muscle with blood and oxygen.
  • Heart Valve Disease: This occurs when the valves that control blood flow into the heart’s chambers are not working correctly.  
  • Congenital heart abnormalities: Symptoms include abnormal heart rhythms, blue-tinted skin, shortness of breath, failure to feed or develop normally, and swollen body tissue or organs.

Once your specialist identifies risk factors or existing conditions, they may recommend medication and lifestyle changes to improve your heart’s health. But if you need to have a procedure done, here’s what an interventional cardiologist may be called upon to do.

Procedures Interventional Cardiologist Perform

  1. Angioplasty stent placement and coronary thrombectomy: The most common interventional cardiology procedure (catheterization) involves the insertion of a sheath into the groin or wrist artery and passing a catheter to the heart to open a blocked artery with a balloon (angioplasty) or a stent (metal sleeve that is inserted to prop open the artery from within).
  2. Percutaneous valve repair or replacement: The replacement of the aortic valve of the heart through the blood vessels.
  3. Repair atrial and ventricular septal defects, closure of patent ductus arteriosus, and angioplasty of the great vessels.

The main advantages of using the interventional cardiology procedures are to avoid scars, pain, and long post-operative recovery. But your goal should be to avoid the procedure altogether by keeping your heart healthy.

Regular screenings help to ensure your health is optimal. Our guide “Cardiology Tests That Are Helping Hearts Stay Healthy” will explain how three minimally-invasive tests can predict your risk for heart attack. One of them can predict your risk for up to 10 years.

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