Not all cardiac procedures require traditional open-heart surgery. For some heart conditions or diseases there may be a non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment option.

What is Interventional cardiology?

Interventional cardiology is a subspecialty of cardiology that focuses on catheter-based treatment options. Catheter treatment options allow for a minimally invasive approach that enables the physician to repair and treat the heart and surrounding areas including the vascular system.

Catheters, which are long, flexible tubes, are inserted through a vein or blood vessel through a small incision, usually in the groin, to reach the affected area. There is a tiny camera on the end of the catheter that allows visualization of the area to diagnose or treat a specific cardiac condition. For treatment purposes, tiny instruments can be inserted through the catheter in order to reach the affected area through a minimally invasive approach.

Patients who are candidates and may benefit from this type of procedure can expect a less invasive procedure and reduced post-operative pain. In most cases, this means faster healing and a quicker return to normal activities. We also perform interventional solutions that include atherectomies, distal protection devices, and drug-eluting or renal artery stents.

The Interventional Cardiologists at Saint Vincent Medical Group use the latest innovations in medical technology to perform catheter-based treatment to repair structural heart diseases.

When are interventional procedures needed?

Blockages that build-up in the arteries can lead to serious heart problems, including heart attack. Saint Vincent Medical Group specialists offer interventional cardiology services to open blocked arteries using minimally invasive methods known as percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI).

Our interventional cardiologists can use PCI on an emergency basis – when a patient is experiencing a heart attack to open a blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart – or during a scheduled procedure to open blocked arteries before they cause a heart attack.

During PCI, long thin tubes are threaded through the patient’s body and into the coronary arteries using advanced imaging. Through these tubes, a smaller tube carrying a balloon is guided into the coronary arteries, and once at a blockage, the balloon is inflated pressing the obstructing plaque against the walls of the coronary artery.

To keep the artery open, an expandable device called a stent is threaded through the catheter and deployed at the site of the blockage.


Interventional cardiology can treat various diseases and conditions including those involving deposits of plaque in the veins, known as atherosclerosis. The plaque is often made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and fibrous tissue. This buildup can narrow and block the artery, which can inhibit blood flow.

Some diseases and conditions that may require catheter-based treatments include:

  • Aortic disease
  • Aneurysm
  • Mitral regurgitation
  • Heart valve disorders
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Peripheral artery disease


Some procedures performed by interventional cardiologists include:

  • Angiography
  • Angioplasty / percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Atrial fibrillation ablation
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair
  • Percutaneous valve repair
  • Stents