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Interventional Cardiology

Interventional cardiology refers to non-surgical procedures used to treat coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

These procedures typically use a small, flexible tube (catheter) to repair damaged vessels and narrowed arteries. As the region’s tertiary care facility for interventional cardiology, Baystate Health performs around 1,300 heart interventions every year.

You may benefit from interventional cardiology if you have a condition such as:

The Only Full-Service Interventional Cardiac Cath Lab in Western Massachusetts

Interventional cardiology procedures are done in Baystate Health’s state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory — the only full-service interventional cardiac cath lab in our area. Our laboratories are open for emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We use the latest technology to provide a variety of interventional cardiology treatments, including angiogram, angioplasty, stent implantation, drug-eluting stents, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

Angiogram

A coronary angiogram uses X-ray imaging to view your heart’s vessels. During this test, a dye is injected into a blood vessel to check if it is narrowed or blocked. Angiograms give your doctors information about how well your heart’s arteries and valves are working.

A coronary angiogram is just one of the tests that can be done during cardiac catheterization, which refers to any of the procedures that uses catheters inserted into your arteries or veins to reach your heart.

During the procedure, your doctor inserts a long thin tube (catheter) into the artery at your groin area. Then your doctor guides the tube through the artery to the aorta and into your heart. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter into your heart artery. This lets your doctor see the artery and check for blockages.

The test takes about 30 to 90 minutes. Depending on your condition, it may be done as an outpatient procedure or you may need to stay in the hospital.

Another type of angiogram is called a peripheral angiogram, which is done to check the arteries in your arms or legs.

Angioplasty

Angioplasty (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty or PTA) is a procedure that opens a narrowed or blocked coronary artery. It may be performed at the same time as an angiogram or on its own.

It is similar to other cardiac catherization procedures. Your surgeon inserts a long thin tube (catheter) into the artery at your groin area. The tube has a small balloon on the end of it.

Then your surgeon guides the tube through the artery. Once the tube is in the right position, your surgeon inflates the balloon. The balloon pushes out against the walls of the vessel, opening the narrowing and improving blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed from the artery.

The procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes. You will likely stay in the hospital at least overnight.

Stent placement

Many people who have an angioplasty also have a stent placed. A stent is a small metal, mesh tube that is placed in your blood vessel with the help of a balloon catheter. The stent expands against the vessel wall as the balloon is inflated.

Once the balloon has been deflated and withdrawn, the stent stays in place permanently. This helps keep the blood vessel open and improves your blood flow.

The procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes. You will likely stay in the hospital at least overnight.

Drug-eluting stents

Depending on your condition, your doctor may decide to place a drug-eluting stent.

This is a special type of stent that slowly releases medicine after it is put in place. The drug releases slowly, directly into the walls of the surrounding artery, and helps prevent scar tissue from forming.