Interventional Cardiology Procedures
Interventional cardiology is the field of medicine in which physicians used minimally invasive techniques to treat cardiac abnormalities. The most common of these procedures involves the treatment of coronary artery disease. With these techniques, obstructions or narrowing of the coronary arteries are opened with balloon catheters. These blockages, if left untreated can result in chest pain (angina) or heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction). The procedure is done through a small incision in the upper portion of the leg or the arm and is done under light sedation.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) (also called Balloon Angioplasty)
A balloon is used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries). A catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is passed into the narrowed artery segment, the balloon is inflated and the narrowed segment widened. Then the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
A coronary Stent is a small, expandable wire mesh tube (stent) is inserted into a diseased artery as a scaffold to hold it open. Stents can be placed in arteries and veins throughout the body. Coronary stents are designed to be placed into the coronary arteries that lie on the surface of the heart and supply the heart with oxygen-fresh blood.
Drug Eluting Stents
involves coating the outer aspect of a standard coronary stent with a thin polymer containing medication that can prevent the formation of scar tissue at the site of coronary intervention. The medication on the currently available stent is known as sirolimus. Sirolimus had been used previously to prevent rejection following organ transplantation. These stents had been studied extensively and had been shown to dramatically decrease the chance of restenosis.
Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) with Virtual Histology
This breakthrough technology is only available at one place in Northwest Arkansas... Northwest Medical Center - Bentonville. A revolutionary technology, the IVUS with VH, or virtual histology system, allows cardiologists to classify the composition of plaque build-up in arteries and identify patients who are at greater risk for a massive heart attack. By giving cardiologists clear pictures of a patient's plaque composition, doctors can identify the percentages of "vulnerable" and "non-vulnerable" plaque in a clogged artery. Northwest Medical Center - Springdale also offers IVUS.
Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
The IABP is a mechanical device that is used to decrease myocardial oxygen demand while at the same time increasing cardiac output. By increasing cardiac output it also increases coronary blood flow and therefore myocardial oxygen delivery. It consists of a cylindrical balloon that sits in the aorta and counterpulsates. That is, it actively deflates in systole increasing forward blood flow by reducing afterload, and actively inflates in diastole increasing blood flow to the coronary arteries. The balloon is inflated during diastole by a computer controlled, ECG linked mechanism. This controles the flow of helium from a cylinder into and out of the balloon. Helium is used because its low viscosity allows it to travel quickly through the long connecting tubes.