Minimally Invasive Procedures Find a Location Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular Arrhythmia Center Diagnostic Testing Treatments/Procedures Cardiology Minimally Invasive Procedures Heart Attack Care Clinical Research Diagnostic Services Heart & Lung Surgery Heart Disease Treatment Lung & Airway Disease Treatment Other Services Cardiac Rehab Heart Failure Center Patient Success Stories Prevention & Wellness CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit Freshstart Hands-only CPR Healing Hearts Women's Support Group Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips My Heart Rocks Take Time For Your Heart Valve Center Treatments Your Hospital Stay Care After Heart Surgery Intensive Care for Heart Conditions Nurses with Heart Care Expertise Partners in Heart Care Transitional Care Units What Is Heart Catheterization? Doctors at St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute use imaging exams and catheter-based procedures to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. In many instances, our specialists can assess and treat your condition during a single procedure. To perform heart catheterization, your doctor makes a tiny incision in your upper thigh (groin) or wrist and inserts a catheter – a thin, flexible tube – into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart. These procedures are performed in our Cardiac Catheterization Labs by cardiologists and interventional cardiologists, who specialize in catheter-based procedures. Glenna Maxwell Just before her 40th birthday, Glenna learned she needed surgery to repair a heart defect she was born with. Learn how a minimally invasive procedure gave Glenna her life back. READ GLENNA'S STORY Diagnosing Heart Disease We use a variety of exams to diagnose heart disease, such as: Angiogram – Views the inside of arteries in your heart, kidney and lungs, as well as peripheral arteries (not in the chest or abdomen, including arms and legs). Nitrous oxide challenge – Measures pressure in your heart and pulmonary artery (to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) – Examines the inside of your arteries using sound waves. Swan-Ganz catheterization – Monitors heart function and blood flow. Diagnostic exams are outpatient procedures that don’t usually require an overnight stay. However, if you undergo an interventional procedure (treatment) in addition to a diagnostic exam, you may require a brief hospital stay. Heart Disease Treatments Whenever possible, your doctor will perform these interventional procedures – rather than surgery – to treat disease. Doctors use these techniques to reopen blocked arteries, restore normal heart rhythm or improve blood flow – including lifesaving heart attack care: Angioplasty and stent placement – Opens narrowed or blocked arteries by inflating a tiny balloon (also called balloon angioplasty). In many instances, doctors place a stent – a small, metal tube – in the artery to keep it open. This procedure is used in coronary, peripheral and carotid arteries, as well as in the kidneys. Atherectomy – Removes plaque buildup in blood vessels using a catheter with a sharp blade (metal burr). Atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale repairs – Closes openings in the heart that are there at birth (congenital abnormalities). Coronary thrombectomy – Removes a blood clot from a blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart. Pericardiocentesis – Removes fluid from around the heart. Septal ablations – Destroys diseased heart tissue that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by creating a small, controlled heart attack. Temporary pacemaker implantation – Treats short-term heart problems, such as a slow heartbeat caused by a heart attack, heart surgery or a medicine overdose. Temporary ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation – Stabilizes someone who’s critically ill until diagnosis and treatment decisions can be determined. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – Replaces the aortic valve in the heart. This offers a minimally invasive alternative to some people who can’t have open-heart surgery, Valve Replacement Without Open-Heart Surgery When Vicki learned she had a faulty heart valve, she thought she'd have to undergo open-heart surgery. But a new, minimally invasive option had her up and around just two weeks after the procedure. READ VICKI'S STORY Valvuloplasty – Improves blood flow in the heart by opening the aortic, mitral or pulmonary valve in the heart with a tiny balloon (similar to angioplasty). Our heart and vascular team will discuss the treatments that are right for you.