Interventional cardiologists perform cardiac catheterization to diagnose
and treat coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is a buildup of plaque in
the arteries, which causes the arteries to narrow and restrict blood flow.
If left untreated CAD may result in a heart attack. These physicians also
treat aortic valve disease, patent foramen ovale (a heart defect), and
peripheral artery disease in the legs.
Cardiac Catheterization and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
When a blocked artery is located, an interventional cardiologist may perform
a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or angioplasty along with the
placement of a stent to keep the artery open. Expert cardiologists also
perform high risk circulatory assist PCI on patients who have very poor
left ventricular (LV) function.
Transradial Cardiac Catheterization
Traditionally, cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention
are performed by inserting a catheter in the femoral artery in the groin
and guiding it up through the heart. This approach, while effective, requires
hours of patient immobilization after the procedure and can result in
complications – such as excessive bleeding. Patients who experience
the most serious bleeding complications requiring blood transfusions have
a higher risk of mortality.
At Good Samaritan, highly skilled cardiologists use a different, less intrusive
approach, called the transradial cardiac catheterization. This technique
reduces the risk of complications and improves patient comfort. The catheterization
is performed through the radial artery in the wrist, and because it is
less intrusive, patients have shorter hospitalizations and the vascular
complication rate is near zero percent. While this approach has been use
internationally for decades, few American interventional cardiologists
have been trained in this technique.
Click here for more information on the Transradial Cardiac Catherization Program
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