Interventional cardiology refers to various non-surgical procedures for treating cardiovascular disease. Interventional cardiologists use catheters – thin, flexible tubes- to get inside blood vessels for diagnostic tests or to repair damaged vessels or other heart structures, often avoiding the need for surgery.
The Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute has eight highly trained interventional cardiologists. They treat narrowed arteries often caused by coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, or peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiac catheterization is a test used to evaluate your coronary arteries and heart valve function; it will identify the size and location of plaques that may have built up in your arteries from atherosclerosis, the strength of your muscle, and the adequacy of valve function. To start the cardiac catheterization, the interventional cardiologist threads a catheter (thin flexible tube) through a blood vessel in your arm or groin and into your heart. With the catheter in place, the cardiologist can measure blood pressure, take blood samples, and inject dyes into your coronary arteries or arteries elsewhere in your body to trace the movement of blood through ambers of the heart. By watching the dye move through your heart’s chambers and blood vessels, your cardiologist can see whether the arteries are narrowed or blocked, and whether the valves are working properly.