Minimally Invasive Procedures

What is Heart Catheterization?

Doctors at Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Elizabeth 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.

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.

Contact Us

For a new patient cardiology appointment, call (859) 287-3045.

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.

  • 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.

Susan Stahl

Susan Stahl

As Susan Stahl woke up from hernia repair surgery last February – just before the coronavirus escalated – she had a strange feeling. And it wasn’t just her anesthesia wearing off.

“I felt like I had a big cement block on my chest,” remembers Susan. “It really hurt.”

Susan's Story

Unparalleled Heart Care

St. Elizabeth Edgewood has attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association as a Comprehensive Cardiac Center, placing us in an elite group of hospitals that have met high standards to fully address the needs of patients with complex cardiac conditions.

The Joint Commission and American Heart Association Certification - Meets Standards for Comprehensive Cardiac Center