MultiCare’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.Angioplasty
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.
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.