A comprehensive resource for heart and vascular services.

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Procedures Performed at the Heart and Vascular Center

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Alcohol Septal Ablation (Overview)


Angiography is a technique for imaging blood vessels and other soft tissues using X-ray technology. Blood looks the same as surrounding tissue on an X-ray, so in order to help blood vessels show up, a contrast agent that absorbs X-rays is injected into the blood through a catheter, which makes the blood, and therefore the vessels, visible on the images. The images themselves are either still images or fluoroscopic moving images.

Angioplasty (Overview)

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Closure

Until relatively recently, atrial septal defects could only be closed via major surgery. These days, however, our specialists inpediatric cardiology and interventional cardiology are able to repair many of these problems using a self-expanding, double disk device known as an Amplatzer septal occluder, which is introduced into the heart via a catheter and implanted across the defect like a small wire web. This procedure takes place in our Heart and Vascular Center and the patient is frequently able to go home the next day.

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Balloon Angioplasty

See Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty

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Cardiac Catheterization (Overview)

Cardiac Diagnostic Tests (Overview)

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

Sometimes called biventricular pacing, CRT is a form of therapy for congestive heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. CRT employs a specialized pacemaker to re-coordinate the action of the right and left ventricles of the heart. In about 30 percent of patients with congestive heart failure, an abnormality in the heart's electrical conducting system causes the two ventricles, which should beat together, to beat slightly out of phase. This condition reduces the efficiency of the ventricles in patients with heart failure, whose hearts are already damaged. CRT re-coordinates the beating of the two ventricles by pacing both of them simultaneously. This differs from typical pacemakers, which pace only the right ventricle.


Chemoembolization is a way of delivering cancer-destroying chemotherapy directly to a tumor. With X-ray imaging to help guide him or her, one of our specialists in vascular interventional radiology use small catheters inserted into the body through an artery in the groin, the femoral artery, to feed chemotherapy directly into the tumor site via the blood vessels of the body. Chemoembolization helps kill the cancer in two ways. First, it delivers a much stronger dose of chemotherapy to the cancer than can be delivered intravenously. Second, it cuts off blood supply to the tumor, starving it of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow. Chemoembolization is often used in tandem with other treatments to attack the cancer aggressively.

Chest X-Ray (Overview)

Coil Embolization

Coil embolics are tiny metallic coils of wire created from alloys that “remember” their shape. These wires are fed through a catheter into an aneurysm. When they exit the catheter, the wires returns to their original coiled shape. The coils are used to fill up the ballooned-out space of the aneurysm. This slows the flow of blood in the aneurysm and allows it to clot, which keeps the aneurysm from growing any larger and prevents the possibility of it rupturing.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (Overview)


Cryoablation is a technique for destroying tissue by freezing it by delivering a coolant to the targeted tissue via a catheter.

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Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography (DSE) (Overview)

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Echocardiogram (Overview)

Echocardiography (Overview)

Electrophysiological Study (EPS) (Overview)


Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure used to block a blood vessel. When a physician chooses to embolize a vessel that is bleeding, it is because he or she has determined that the vein or artery is doing more harm than good. There are many types of materials used as emboli (plural of embolus – a foreign body introduced deliberately into the blood stream to block the flow of blood). Emboli include small coils, screens, PVC pellets, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles, and metal sponges.

Endomyocardial Biopsy

Sometimes, in order to diagnose rare heart disorders, a tiny sample of heart muscle is removed and studied under a microscope. The procedure, performed under a local anesthetic, involves inserting a special catheter called a biopsy tome [Glossary] into the right side of the neck. The catheter is fed via a vein in the neck into the heart where it removes a tiny tissue sample.

Exercise Echocardiogram (Stress Echocardiogram) (Overview)

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Fluoroscopy can best be described as “live” X-ray images of a patient. In fluoroscopy, a radiologist uses a device to control an X-ray beam that is being transmitted through a patient. The X-rays strike a fluorescent plate that works in conjunction with an “image intensifier.” The output is transmitted via a television camera to a screen so that the physician can actually watch moving images on a monitor.

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Heart Transplantation (Overview)

Heart Valve Repair/Replacement Surgery (Overview)

Holter Monitor (Overview)

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Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) Implantation

Much like a pacemaker, an ICD is a small, computerized device that senses an irregular heartbeat and jolts the heart back into a normal rhythm by passing an electrical current into the heart muscle. ICDs are often used to treat ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) (Overview)

Microwave Ablation

Microwave ablation is a technique for destroying tissue by delivering microwave energy to it using a specially designed probe introduced to the area via a catheter.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan, Stress (with Exercise or Pharmacologic)

Myocardial Perfusion Scans are also called Exercise Thallium, Stress Thallium, Cardiac Nuclear Imaging, Adenosine Thallium Scan, and Cardiolyte Scan; type depends on the exact type of stress and drugs used

Myocardial Perfusion Scan, Resting (Overview)

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Pacemaker Implantation

See Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation

Percutaneous drainage

Percutaneous drainage is a minimally invasive method for draining fluids from inside the human body. A physician called a radiologist uses X-ray imaging equipment to help guide a small tube called a drainage catheter to the area to be drained. Normally, the catheter is introduced into the body via the femoral artery, an artery in the inner thigh or groin area.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty

Also known as a balloon angioplasty.

PFO closure

In order to treat Patent Foramen Ovales, PFO closure devices are fed through a catheter inserted into the body through a small incision made in the femoral artery on the inside of the thigh. The device itself resembles two round, fine mesh webs that oppose each other on each side of the open foramen ovale. The cardiologist guides the catheter to the correct position using X-ray imaging. The PFO closure device is designed so that it opens automatically when fed through the catheter.

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Radiation Therapy (Overview)

Radioembolization, or selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT)

A procedure in which tiny radioactive microspheres smaller than the diameter of a human hair are introduced into the tumor site where they irradiate the cancerous cells, and kill them. The arteries feeding the tumors are rendered inoperable which also helps to kill the cancerous tissue by starving it of blood.

Radiofrequency Ablation

As it pertains to the heart, radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency energy (heat) to destroy abnormal electrical pathways in the heart muscle. An electrode is introduced into the heart through a catheter in a process known as cardiac catheterization. Using complex imaging equipment, the physician, an electrophysiologist, first “maps” the area of the heart causing the problem to locate the specific neural pathways that are firing abnormally. Other types of ablation include cryoablation and microwave ablation.

Radionuclide Angiography, Resting

Also called MUGA, Gated Blood Pool Scan [Resting], Gated Cardiac Scan, Resting Gated Blood Pool Scan, Multigated Graft Acquisition, and Cardiac Blood Pool Imaging

Radionuclide Angiography, Resting and Exercise (Overview)

Renal Artery Embolization

Renal artery embolization is a procedure in which small pieces of a special gelatin sponge, or other material, are injected through a catheter to clog the main renal blood vessel. This procedure shrinks kidney tumors fed by the renal artery by depriving it of the oxygen-carrying blood and other substances they need to grow. It may also be used before an operation to make surgery easier, or to provide relief from pain when removal of the tumor is not possible.

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Signal-Average Echocardiogram

Also called Signal-Average EKG and SAEKG

Stent Emplacement

Often a stent is implanted after angioplasty. Stents are small, metallic, tubular, mesh cages that help keep arteries dilated after angioplasty by providing a relatively rigid support for the artery walls. These tiny mesh cages are also implanted using a catheter inserted into the body through the femoral artery. Stents seem to work quite well, although, in some patients, scar tissue forms around the stent. When the coronary artery grows scar tissue through the openings in the mesh of the stent, the re-narrowing of the artery is known as re-stenosis.

Stent-Assisted Coil Embolization

Coil embolics are tiny metallic coils of wire created from alloys that “remember” their shape. These wires are fed through a catheter into an aneurysm. When they exit the catheter they return to their original coiled shape. These coils are used to fill up the ballooned-out space of the aneurysm. This slows the flow of blood in the aneurysm and allows it to clot, which keeps the aneurysm from growing any larger and prevents the possibility of it rupturing. When the opening of the aneurysm is very wide, (called, as you might expect, wide neck aneurysms, there is a risk that the coils will not stay in place but will “fall” out of the aneurysm into the main artery. When this is the case, the physician may choose to use a type of stent called a Neuroform® stent. This stent, a mesh tube made of a lightweight flexible alloy, provides a frame or scaffolding that holds the coils in place so they can do their job.

Stress Test

Also known as Stress Echocardiogram, Stress ECG, Stress EKG. See Exercise Echocardiogram.

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Tandem Heart

The TandemHeart™ Percunateous Ventricular Assist Device (pVAD) is used by cardiologists to gain valuable time in treating patients who have suffered heart failure as a result of heart surgery or heart attack. Because it serves to “bridge” the time between one treatment and another, it is considered a bridge device. The device itself consists of a continuous-flow, centrifugal pump that is placed outside of the body. Hoses or cannulas access the flow of blood through the femoral veins and arteries. The pump removes oxygenated blood from the left atrium, pumps it using a magnetically driven, six-bladed impeller, and returns it to one or both femoral arteries via arterial cannulas.

Tilt Table Procedure

Also called Upright Tilt Testing.

Transesophageal Echocardiography

Also called TEE and Heart Scan with Endoscopy

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Ultrafast Computed Tomography (Ultrafast CT Scan)

Also called Electron-Beam Tomography (ETB) or Cine CT Scan

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (Overview)

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Also called Balloon Valvuloplasty – used to treat Valvular Heart Disease

Vascular Studies

Vascular Studies include Carotid, Arm, and Leg Arterial and Venous Studies; also called Carotid Ultrasound, Venous Doppler Studies, Arterial Doppler Studies, Carotid Duplex Scan, and Pulse Volume Recordings, or PVRs

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Last Update

September 3, 2010