heart monitor lines

Interventional Cardiology Program

Treatments & Services

Being diagnosed with a heart condition, you may wonder what your treatment options look like. Our team of experts at the Interventional Cardiology Program uses the most effective minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Our treatment methods are used to get you the best outcomes for your condition while avoiding major surgery.

Our cardiac specialists perform the full range of minimally invasive heart procedures. Click the links below to quickly navigate to a specific treatment.

Carotid Intervention

There are several innovative approaches to treat carotid artery disease, including carotid angioplasty and stenting. Although only recently recognized as an alternative therapy for blockages in the neck arteries, the use and success rate of these procedures are increasing.

Carotid angioplasty and stenting involve inserting a catheter through a small incision in the groin and threading it into the carotid artery. A small wire is placed across the narrowed area under X-ray guidance. An angioplasty balloon may be expanded to open the restricted section, and a stent (thin mesh tube) may be placed to keep the artery open. At Emory, carotid angioplasty and stenting are performed by well-recognized experts in the field, primarily in patients who cannot undergo surgery (endarterectomy).

Coronary Microvascular Disease

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary MVD than men, and it appears to be linked to a drop in estrogen levels during menopause alongside traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes. Patients who have chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease without coronary obstructions many times have MVD. Because of the atypical presentation of the disease, it is often hard to diagnose, and therefore many patients who have MVD are undiagnosed and are not seeking treatment for the disease.

A stress test is the first diagnostic test used to detect MVD. If the test shows an abnormality, patients may undergo cardiac catheterization. If there is no coronary obstruction, physicians will perform a flow study to see if the blood flow that feeds into the tiny heart vessels are narrowed or not dilating enough to provide adequate blood flow to the heart.

Research is being done to study this disease and learn more about how heart disease is affected by hormonal changes. Also, researchers are searching for the most effective ways of treating patients with this disease. Currently, medical management is the best way to treat MVD because surgery and angioplasty are not sufficient. Physicians also work with the patient to develop healthy habits to reduce the underlying conditions that contribute to MVD. Maintaining a heart-healthy diet, exercise, stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, eating a low sodium diet, and reducing stress in your life are all ways to reduce the risk factors for the disease.

Heart Valve Disease

Treatment options for Heart Valve Disease include:

  • Complex aortic, mitral and tricuspid valve surgery
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty
  • Minimally invasive mitral valve repair
  • Minimally invasive mitral valve replacement
  • Minimally invasive aortic valve repair
  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation
  • Stentless aortic valve replacement
  • Combined valve and coronary artery bypass surgery

Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Repair

Most damaged aortic valves must be replaced, but in some cases, the valve can be repaired using minimally invasive techniques to correct stenosis or regurgitation (heart valve disease). Aortic valve repairs include separating fused valve flaps, repairing tears or holes in valve flaps, and reshaping the valve. During these procedures, small incisions are made between the ribs or through the upper sternum to allow for the insertion of specialized surgical instruments. Minimally invasive aortic valve surgery has several advantages over the traditional open-heart approach, including minimizing blood loss and trauma and significantly shorter recovery.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

The medical, surgical and catheter-based treatment of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a combined effort of the Emory Heart & Vascular Center, the Division of Vascular Surgery & Endovascular Therapy as well as the section of Interventional Radiology.

Robotic Bypass Surgery

Performing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) without opening up the chest cavity might sound like a description of a cardiology procedure of the future, but at Emory, this groundbreaking advance in the surgical treatment of heart disease is now a reality.

The minimally invasive CABG procedure, called endoscopic atraumatic coronary artery bypass surgery (endo-ACAB), uses robotics-assisted endoscopic techniques that allow CABG to be performed using small incisions between the ribs rather than an open-chest approach with a large incision through the sternum (median sternotomy).

The advantages of the endo-ACAB approach are numerous, including the fact that it does not require the use of a heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass), often one of the riskiest aspects of open-heart surgery. In addition, recovery from endo-ACAB is drastically shorter and associated with significantly fewer complications than the open surgical approach. Most patients are able to leave the hospital within 48 hours and return to full activity, including work, in two to three weeks, rather than the two to three months generally needed for recovery after traditional CABG surgery.

Currently, Emory is the only cardiac surgery service in Georgia that offers the endo-ACAB procedure. Nationally, fewer than 10 institutions are using this technique.

Septal Defect and Patent Foramen Ovale Closure

Babies who are born with defects in the walls of their heart may need surgery right away. In some cases, the surgery can wait and may even be done later in life. These defects can often be repaired with minimally invasive procedures.
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