Patients with decreased blood flow to the heart may require cardiac catheterization. This procedure involves threading a small plastic tube (catheter) up to the heart through an artery at the top of the leg. Dye is then injected through the catheter which opacifies the coronary arteries and demonstrates any blockages which may be present. If indicated, the blockage can be opened by a balloon (angioplasty) and a small metal device inserted (stent) to keep the vessel open.
Balloon Angioplasty/Stent Implantation
This procedure, usually performed during a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, involves passing a balloon into a region of blockage in a coronary artery. The balloon is then expanded and the blockage opened. In order to keep the blockage from re-forming, a small metal device (stent) is frequently implanted at the same time.
A “patent foramen ovale” or PFO is a hole in the heart that is present while a baby is in utero and which usually closes at birth. In a small percentage of persons, however, this natural closure does not occur and a small communication between the two top chambers of the heart continues to be present. In patients who have suffered a stroke or TIA, this PFO may need to be closed. This is performed through a catheter which is inserted into a vein in the leg and passed into the heart. A special device (shaped like a clam-shell) is then deployed to close this abnormality. The physician performing this procedure is Bruce Klugherz.