In Switzerland, in 1977, the world of cardiology was changed by Andreas Gruentzig, when he performed the first successful angioplasty treatment on an awake person. The operation created an angina-free life for his patient. Interventional cardiology uses catheter-based treatments to repair structural damage to the heart.
Types of Interventional Cardiology
There are several types of procedures used by an interventional cardiologist. The include:
- Cardiac catheterization enable a cardiologist to locate and determine the severity of cardiovascular problems.
- Percuaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or commonly known as angioplasty, is a procedure in which a catheter with an inflated balloon attached is used to push plaque to the artery wall to widen the artery. This procedure increases blood flow to the heart.
- Stents are often used during an angioplasty procedure. Stents are metal cylinders that are left inside the blood vessel to reinforce the wall of the artery.
- Embolic protection is a procedure used during interventional procedures. Filters are used to trap plaque fragments that can become loose during the procedure. These loose fragments can increase the risk of stroke.
- Percutaneous valve repair is a procedure that allows the cardiologist to repair damaged valves.
- Balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure used to repair constricted heart valves. This procedure is similar to an angioplasty.
- Atherectomy is a procedure that uses a rotary shaver to remove plaque. A laser catheter can be used to vaporize plaque.
Benefits of Interventional Cardiology
The benefits of interventional cardiology procedures include:
- Less invasive than traditional surgery
- Shorter stay in hospital
- Shorter recovery time
- Symptoms relieved quickly
- Can prevent further damage in heart attack patients
- Can prolong life for heart patients
Cardiovascular diseases are considered the leading cause of death worldwide. The risk factors of cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and lipid abnormalities. Age, gender, ethnicity, and lack of exercise can also contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. While not all of these risks can be eliminated, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. A balanced diet and exercise can prevent or delay obesity, the onset of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and lipid abnormalities caused by diabetes.
If your physician detects the onset of a cardiovascular disease, he or she may recommend interventional treatment. If detected early enough, the treatment can sometimes prevent more serious complications such as stroke or heart attack. Technology has increased the success of interventional cardiology. There have been many advancements since Dr. Gruentzig’s first successful surgery in 1977, and there will be many more in the years to come. A healthy lifestyle along with the modern procedures of interventional cardiology can lead to a longer and more enjoyable life.