Once your heart and/or vascular problems have been diagnosed, treatment may be needed. Sometimes, treatment can be limited to prescription medications. But in other cases, more involved measures are required.

The interventional cardiologists at Texas Cardiology Associates are leaders in the use of catheter-based techniques to open plaque-filled vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease. Our physicians often perform complex procedures on high-risk patients with severe blockages. Our physicians can drastically reduce the risks created by blood clots or tissue dislodged during treatment by using filters to trap clots, devices that snare tissue debris, and powerful new anti-platelet medications. Our level of specialized expertise does make a difference. Research shows that experienced cardiologists who have performed many angioplasties get better results.

ANGIOPLASTY AND STENTING
Coronary angioplasty or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is a procedure used to open up narrowed arteries caused by plaques. As we all age, atherosclerosis, which is a build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries, can develop. Over time plaque may harden and break. If the plaque ruptures a blood clot can form at the surface. The blood clot, if large enough, can block off major arteries. This is the most common cause for heart attack. During this procedure, a catheter with a balloon at the tip is inserted through the artery in the groin or the arm. The balloon is then used to compress the plaque against the artery wall. Upon completion, symptoms such as chest pain (angina) typically resolve. Also the interrupted blood flow resumes, as the arteries open up, the perfusion continues. Very routinely, balloon angioplasty is followed by stent placement in the heart blood vessel to keep it patent.  A stent is a wire mesh device and mainly of two different kinds – drug coated or non-drug coated. The drug eluting stent consists of an antiproliferative drug, which prevents cell growth to prevent the blockage from recurring. Different stents are chosen for different indications and that is where our cardiologist use their experience to pick the best treatment and device for your problem. Same procedure of angioplasty and stenting is utilized when treating blockages in any other vascular bed including legs, arms, kidney arteries or arteries of the neck depending on appropriate indication.

ATHERECTOMY
This procedure uses a catheter with a sharp blade at the end to remove plaque buildup and open up the vessels to promote blood flow. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the build-up of plaque. This is procedure is useful for blocked arteries usually with high calcium content that are not easily treated with stents.

HEMODYNAMIC SUPPORT DEVICES (Impella, IABP)
These devices are used for patients to assist in life-saving cardiac interventions who are at high risk for heart failure. The pump takes over and temporarily assists the heart’s pumping function while the Interventional Cardiologist is opening up blocked arteries in the heart.

PACEMAKER
A small device that paces, controls abnormal heart rhythms, and monitors the heart rate. If the heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly the heart is unable to pump adequate supply of blood to the body, thus causing symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath or sometimes syncope or fainting. In severe cases, the abnormal heart rhythm can cause damage to the vital organs, cause loss of consciousness or even death. Pacemakers relieve symptoms as well as speed up a slow rhythm and make sure the heart beats normally.

For a more detailed description on our interventions, please refer to Patient Education.

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