What are the types of interventional cardiology procedures?

There's a wide variety of procedures performed by interventional cardiologists. The most common interventional cardiology procedures are balloon angioplasties.

The different types of interventional cardiology procedures are a heart catheterization, stents, and valves.

Interventional cardiology refers to various non-surgical procedures for treating cardiovascular disease. Interventional cardiologists select one or a combination of procedures best suited to each patient. Procedures include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting — A long, slender tube is inserted through a blood vessel in your leg or wrist, and guided to the heart or elsewhere in your body. A dye is injected through the arteries to guide the cardiologist during the stenting procedure. A balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to stretch open the artery and restore increased blood flow to the heart. In most cases, a small metal mesh cylinder called a stent is then placed in the vessel to help keep it open.
  • Atherectomy — Devices with tiny blades are sometimes used to cut away plaque deposits caused by atherosclerosis inside the blood vessel.
  • Carotid stenting — Similarly, balloons and stents can be used to open the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels to the brain, and thereby lessen the risk of stroke. This procedure was just recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Embolic protection — In some cases, particularly when the narrowing being treated is in a bypass graft or in the carotid arteries, filters and other specialized devices are used to help ensure that pieces of the plaque don't break off and travel in the blood to cause damage.
  • Percutaneous mitral valve repair — A catheter is introduced through a blood vessel in your leg and guided through a vein to the heart. Smaller catheters holding a special clip are guided into place and positioned near to, or actually attached to, the mitral valve to make it function properly.

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