For some heart conditions or diseases there may be a non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment option. Interventional cardiology is a subspecialty of cardiology that focuses on catheter-based treatment options. Catheter treatment options allow for a minimally invasive approach that enables the physician to repair and treat the heart and surrounding areas including the vascular system.
Catheters, which are long, flexible tubes, are inserted through a vein or blood vessel through a small incision, usually in the groin, to reach the affected area. There is a tiny camera on the end of the catheter that allows visualization of the area to diagnose or treat a specific cardiac condition. For treatment purposes, tiny instruments can be inserted through the catheter in order to reach the affected area through a minimally invasive approach.
Interventional cardiology can treat various diseases and conditions including those involving deposits of plaque in the veins, known as atherosclerosis. The plaque is often made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and fibrous tissue. This buildup can narrow and block the artery, which can inhibit blood flow.
Some diseases and conditions that may require catheter-based treatments include:
- Aortic disease
- Mitral regurgitation
- Heart valve disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease
Some procedures performed by interventional cardiologists include:
- Angioplasty / percutaneous coronary intervention
- Atrial fibrillation ablation
- Cardiac catheterization
- Endovascular aneurysm repair
- Percutaneous valve repair