Experts in heart care in Nashville, Tennessee
TriStar Centennial interventional cardiologists help diagnose and treat heart conditions utilizing non-surgical diagnostic and catheter-based interventional treatments. Our therapy include the use of angioplasty, stents, embolization protection devices and intravascular ultrasound techniques.
For a free physician referral or for more information, call TriStar MedLine® at (615) 342-1919 or toll-free at (800) 242-5662.
Our cardiovascular specialists are among the country’s leading experts in the field of intervention. Many of our physicians trained at world-renowned institutions including Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins and Emory. We perform thousands of interventional heart procedures each year with outcomes that surpass national standards for minimizing heart damage during a heart attack.
What is cardiac catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization, also referred to as a coronary artery angiography, is a minimally invasive imaging examination of the vessels and chambers of the heart. It is often done to identify any narrowed or clogged coronary arteries that are preventing blood from reaching the heart. It can also be used to measure the size and function of the heart and its valves.
These procedures are conducted in the cardiac catheterization lab, also known as the “cath lab.” Patients are given a mild sedative and anesthetic, but generally remain conscious throughout the procedure.
Cardiac catheterization helps doctors to:
- Identify narrowed or clogged arteries of the heart
- Measure blood pressure within the heart
- Evaluate how well the heart valves and chambers are working
- Check heart defects
- Evaluate an enlarged heart
- Determine appropriate next treatment steps, like another interventional procedure or surgery
Coronary angioplasty and stenting
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. For the heart to function properly it must receive a steady supply of oxygen. The coronary arteries supply this oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When a coronary artery is healthy and has no blockages, the blood can flow easily. This allows the heart muscle to receive the amount of oxygen it needs to get the job done. Coronary artery disease occurs when blood vessels become narrowed or blocked. To treat this heart problem, your doctor might recommend a procedure known as angioplasty.
What is angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted into the artery to improve the blood flow to the heart. A balloon catheter is a thin, flexible tube with a balloon on the tip. The catheter is inserted into the artery until it reaches the spot where plaque (a fatty substance) has built up on the artery walls. This is the spot where the blockage is occurring. The doctor will then inflate and deflate the balloon a couple of times, compressing the plaque up against the artery walls and widening the passageway. After this is done, the artery is open and there is an increase in blood flow to the heart.
The patient must remember that angioplasty is only a treatment and not a cure for coronary artery disease. The patient must still change any unhealthy habits that might have created this heart problem. There are also other possible treatments for coronary artery disease including medication, bypass surgery and procedures, such as coronary stents and atherectomies.