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Cardiac Catheterization

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Minimally Invasive Techniques for Heart Surgery

cardiaccathMultiCare’s digital catheterization labs at Good Samaritan and Tacoma General Hospitals have made exciting advances in cardiac medicine in recent years by utilizing minimally invasive techniques for heart surgery. By threading a catheter – a thin, flexible medical instrument – through a vein to the heart, any number of procedures can be performed without the need for open-heart surgery.

The cardiologist guides a small balloon into a blocked artery and inflates it, to widen the artery and improve the blood flow. Should I have an angioplasty for stable angina?

Stent Placement
A stent is a mesh tube of springy metal about the diameter of an artery. The cardiologist uses the catheter to guide the compressed stent into place, then withdraws a sheath which allows the stent to assume its full shape. The stent helps to keep the artery open. After using angioplasty to open a blocked artery, a stent is commonly put in place to help prevent the artery from re-closing.

Rotablator Procedures
A Rotablator is a tiny rotating device fitted with microscopic diamond "blades" that the cardiologist guides into place with a catheter. It removes hardened deposits from artery walls, shaving them into miniscule particles that are carried away harmlessly by the bloodstream.

Daniel Guerra, MD, a cardiologist with the Cardiac Study Center in Tacoma, discusses interventional cardiology in the video below.