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North Shore-LIJ's team of diagnostic and interventional cardiologists diagnose and treat heart diseases and related problems. The following procedures are offered in our state-of-the-art catheterization labs:
Diagnostic Catheterization Procedures
A cardiologist inserts a catheter into veins and/or arteries through the leg or arm. The catheters are advanced to the right and/or left sides of the heart. Once the catheters are positioned in the various heart chambers or blood vessels, the pressure of the blood in various chambers of the heart can be measured, blood samples can be taken and dye can be injected (a process called angiography) to allow x-ray visualization. The goal of diagnostic catheterization is to identify and diagnose the specific heart problem. A diagnostic catheterization can become an interventional catheterization when the cardiologist determines that the problem can be effectively treated at the same time.
Interventional Catheterization Procedures
An interventional catheterization is essentially the same initial procedure as the diagnostic catheterization. An interventional catheterization is a type of cardiac catheterization during which interventional cardiologists perform actual treatments using specialized catheters. These specialized catheters include balloon catheters that can open up narrowed valves or arteries and catheters with devices that can close extra vessels or certain "holes" in the heart.
Interventional catheterizations can be performed using a traditional insertion by entering an artery in the groin. At LIJ Medical Center, most angioplasty procedures are performed entering an artery in the wrist. This technique, referred to as a radial artery catheterization, decreases related complications and allows for a quicker recovery. Learn more about the radial artery catheterizaion technique.
Balloon Angioplasty Procedure
This minimally invasive procedure performed in our cath lab uses a catheter with a small balloon on its tip that is designed to open narrowed arteries caused by plaque build-up. When the interventional cardiologist uses the balloon angioplasty procedure to inflate the balloon at the blockage site in the artery, the balloon flattens or compresses the plaque against the artery wall.
Stent Insertion Procedure
A stent is made of various forms of metal and is shaped like a tube. During the stent insertion procedure, the stent is placed in the narrowed part of the artery and holds it open. The stent remains in the body, but it is not felt by the patient.
This minimally invasive procedure is used to open a blocked heart valve and can be an alternate to surgery. Heart valves direct the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart and the rest of the body. The valvuloplasty procedure uses a balloon to stretch the valve or to break up scars in the valve and restore blood flow.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Closure
During this minimally invasive procedure, an atrial septal defect closure device is moved through the catheter to the location of the heart wall defect. Once in the correct location, the device expands its shape to straddle each side of the hole. The catheter is then removed. The atrial septal defect closure device will remain in the heart permanently to stop the abnormal flow of blood between the two artria chambers of the heart.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) / Coronary Artery Stent
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA), also known as “coronary angioplasty" or "balloon angioplasty," is a procedure used to open up narrow areas in your coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood directly to your heart muscle. Plaque build-up over time may cause blockages in your coronary arteries. Having major blockages may lead to symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath.
Learn more about Coumadin with our PTCA/Coronary Artery Stent FAQs .
Cardiac Catheterization Medications
Coumadin (also called Warfarin) is a pill that is prescribed for people who have blood clots or who are at risk of forming blood clots. It can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, or even death by decreasing the ability of your body to form clots. Some patients take Coumadin for a short amount of time following a cardiac catheterization interventional procedure, and others need to take it forever.
To learn more about our cardiovascular services, e-mail us or call toll-free at
1(855) HEART-11 or 1(855) 432-7811.