Interventional Cardiology

The Department of Interventional Cardiology at Saint Joseph's Heart and Vascular Institute is your destination for innovative, non-surgical heart care. We are proud to say that our interventional cardiology program is world renowned, and that people from all across the globe travel to the Institute for evaluation and treatment. Our unique approach to patient care is highly individualized: we collaborate with our patients to create a treatment plan tailored to your personal history, symptoms, desires, and concerns.

Experience matters, and the high volume of procedures we perform translates to better outcomes for our patients. At Saint Joseph's, we performed more than 2,600 angioplasty and stenting (also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or PTCA) procedures in 2009. No one in the Atlanta area has been performing PTCA longer than us. Each year, we perform approximately 7,000 cardiac catheterizations in our state-of-the-art Catheterization Lab -- among the highest number of cases performed in the southeastern United States.

We also pride ourselves on offering compassionate, unparalleled patient care in addition to clinical excellence. Your well-being is our number one priority, and your emotional and spiritual needs are just as important to us as the physical ones. We understand that you may have lots of questions or feel overwhelmed at times. Our staff of physicians, nurses, and office professionals is always happy to talk with you; chaplains, social workers, and support groups are also available. We are also a multilingual center and are sensitive to all cultures and denominations.

For more information on interventional cardiology, or to make an appointment, call: (678) 843-7447

What Is Interventional Cardiology?

We specialize in the use of catheters, which are thin, flexible tubes, to diagnose and treat a wide variety of cardiovascular concerns. Our interventional cardiologists, also known as interventionalists, use catheters to:

  • Treat narrowed arteries of the heart, neck, head, kidney, legs, and feet with angioplasty and stenting
  • Perform structural heart interventions, which treat problems with heart valves, muscle walls, and other abnormalities
  • Our interventionalists insert the catheters into your blood vessels (this process is called catheterization) through tiny incisions, which provide an alternative to the large incisions of open surgery. Your likelihood of infection and complication as well as the amount of pain and length of your hospital stay are greatly reduced with these minimally invasive procedures as compared to open surgery. Many of our patients arrive in the morning and leave by the end of the day.

Our diagnostic services include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Angiography
  • Nuclear cardiac stress testing
  • Echocardiography, including transesophageal echocardiogram and intracardiac echocardiography
  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Our minimally invasive treatment options include:

  • Angioplasty
  • Stenting
  • Atherectomy
  • Valvuloplasty including evaluation of the CorValve
  • Heart valve repair
  • Mitral valve clipping, including Mitraclip
  • Atrial and ventricular septal defect closure (ASD and VSD)
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure
  • Cardiac ablation
  • Coronary thrombectomy
  • Robotic coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)

If you have further questions or would like to discuss a referral, please call us at (877) 250-STJO.

Catheterization, Angioplasty, and Stenting

Whether it's a bare metal or drug-eluting stent, we will use the appropriate one for each individual situation. For example, older patients or those with high bleeding risk may be best suited for a bare-metal stent. As with all of our services, therapeutic decisions are made in partnership with you and your family.

In the past, the only option for patients with artery blockages was bypass surgery. Today, we can offer percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), a minimally invasive therapy in which a balloon-tipped catheter is used to open a narrowed or blocked artery. Angioplasty, along with stenting, or the placement of a mesh metal tube that acts as a scaffold to keep the cleared artery open, has revolutionized the field of interventional cardiology and saved hundreds of thousands of lives since its inception.

The use of angioplasty and stenting has grown over time and is now used to treat blockages in arteries located far from the heart (called peripheral arteries), such as the legs and the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck and deliver blood to the brain. Blockages in these blood vessels can lead to stroke. Our interventional cardiologists are working with vascular surgeons to compare carotid stenting with surgical treatment of carotid blockages.

We also use catheters to treat a wide range of heart rhythm disorders.

Pioneering Wrist Access: Radial Catheterization

Our work with radial access, also called wrist access, is an example of our dedication to innovation. With radial access, a newer approach to minimally invasive procedures, the interventional cardiologist inserts the catheter into the radial artery, which is in your wrist. Typically, the catheter is inserted into the femoral artery, near your groin, which has a higher risk of bleeding than radial access. By inserting the catheters through tiny incisions in the wrist, or radially, rather than through the groin, we have reduced complications and 80 percent of severe bleeding, which is a significant concern in women especially.

This advanced radial catheterization technique allows us to perform more than one treatment at once, as well as combine certain robotic and percutaneous procedures. Radial access also allows most of our patients to return home and be mobile on the same day as their procedure. For these reasons and the fact that our patients find it more comfortable, our practice of radial access is expanding.

Emergency Care

We provide 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week care for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), including ST-segment elevation (STEMI) heart attack, a more severe event in which the coronary artery becomes completely blocked. Every second counts, as damage to the heart muscle can occur quickly. Our average door-to-balloon time, a measure of how long it takes us to treat you once you arrive, is 74.4 minutes, faster than national guidelines recommend. We evaluate each heart attack on a case-by-case basis, however, to shave off every second possible and minimize the heart attack's effects.

We have a variety of tools at our finger tips, and will advise the best possible treatment plan. For example, we frequently use coronary stents as well as using cooling techniques (called therapeutic hypothermia) on stroke and sudden cardiac arrest patients to prevent permanent neurological damage to the brain when it is deprived of blood and oxygen.

Structural Heart Interventions

We are experts in the treatment of structural heart disease, which includes malformations of blood vessels in the heart, problems with heart valves, structural defects of the heart muscle walls, and abnormal connections between the heart and the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart.

Only a limited number of hospitals in the country offer Mitraclip, our innovative mitral valve repair procedure. Our skilled practitioners perform this minimally invasive procedure to treat mitral valves that do not close properly when the heart pumps blood out to the rest of the body. We are able to fasten the valve together and fix the problem without open heart surgery and with minimal side effects and complications.

We are currently expanding our septal defect closure services. Septal defects are openings in the wall that separates the heart chambers. We have extensive experience treating atrial septal defects (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD) as well as patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Contact Us

Cardiac Catherization (Cath) Lab
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(678) 843-7447