These procedures are used to evaluate and treat heart and blood vessel disease (cardiovascular
disease or coronary artery disease). Talk with your doctor or heart care provider
for more specific information.
Cardiac catheterization. A thin tube (catheter) is placed into the heart through a
blood vessel in the leg or arm. The pressures of the heart are measured A contrast
agent can also be injected into the heart arteries or heart chambers while X-ray images
are taken. This can identify structural problems of the heart as well as narrowing
in the heart arteries.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). This procedure encompasses several types
of procedures that are designed to improve blood flow through the coronary arteries.
Balloon angioplasty. This is also called PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary
angioplasty). A small balloon is inflated inside a narrowed or blocked artery to re-establish
blood flow. This is often done together with a tiny mesh coil (stent) placement.
Coronary artery stent. A tiny wire mesh coil is expanded inside the narrowed or blocked
artery to open the blocked area. It's left in place to keep the artery open.
Atherectomy. The narrowed or blocked area inside the artery is shaved away by a tiny
device on the end of a catheter.
Laser angioplasty. A laser is used to help open a blocked artery.
Coronary artery bypass graft. This is often called bypass surgery (CABG). It's often
done in people who have chest pain (angina) and plaque buildup in the arteries (coronary
artery disease) that can't be treated with PCI. During the surgery, the blocked artery
is bypassed. This is done using a piece of another healthy blood vessel from another
part of the body. The healthy blood vessel is attached above and below the blocked
area of a coronary artery. This lets blood flow around the blockage. Veins are often
taken from the leg. Arteries from the chest or arm may also be used to create a bypass
graft. Sometimes many bypasses may be needed to restore blood flow to all areas of
Minimally invasive heart surgery. This is also called limited access coronary artery
surgery. It's an alternative to bypass surgery. For this procedure, the surgical tools
and tiny cameras are passed through small holes in the chest wall. The surgeon views
the operation on video monitors.
Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP). This is a device to help your heart pump blood.
It is made up of a thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a long balloon at its tip (intra-aortic
balloon). At the other end, the catheter attaches to a computer. The balloon is inflated
and deflated. An IABP lets blood flow more easily into your coronary arteries . This
helps give oxygen to the heart muscle. It also lets your heart pump more blood with
Ventricular assist device (VAD). A VAD is a mechanical device used to help the pumping
function for one or both of the heart's pumping chambers (ventricles). It may be needed
when heart failure gets to the point that medicines and other treatments no longer
work. A VAD can help someone's heart work when they are waiting for a heart transplant.
Or when someone is waiting to see if they are a candidate for a transplant. A VAD
can also be a permanent treatment. And it can help a person's heart recover after
Heart transplant. This surgery is for certain people whose hearts are so severely
damaged that medicines, procedures, and surgical repair can't help. A donated heart
is transplanted into the person to replace the damaged heart.