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Cardiac Catheterization

Coronary angioplasty, commonly called a cardiac catheterization or “cath” procedure, is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open a blockage in a coronary (heart) artery that has been narrowed by plaque buildup on the inner walls of the artery. A tiny balloon on the tip of a wire is inserted into an artery through the patient’s leg and guided through the maze of arteries to the location of the heart blockage. The balloon is then inflated to open the coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart. A stent is typically placed in the artery to serve as a scaffolding to support the artery and prevent the blood vessel from closing again.

More than a million people a year undergo angioplasty in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Endovascular Repair of Heart Defects

An atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. The defect is an incomplete closure of the atrial septum that everyone has before birth. Most seal shut naturally, but some do not. The hole can cause blood clots that travel to the brain or lodge in blood vessels of other organs.

To treat the problem, surgeons on the medical staff at Texas Health are using minimally invasive catheter-based procedures to deploy devices that close the hole without major surgery. The device is guided to the hole in the heart wall through a tiny wire, called a catheter. Physicians insert the wire through a tiny incision in the patient’s leg. The closure device, which is at the tip of the wire; is opened once physicians find the exact location of the hole. The permanent implant is safe and restores proper blood flow within the heart.

Minimally Invasive Vascular Procedures