Cardiology, in its broadest sense, deals with diseases and abnormalities of the heart. Cardiologists (heart doctors) can specialize in cardiac electrophysiology, echo cardiography, interventional cardiology and nuclear cardiology, each of which offer a unique approach to dealing with disorders of the heart. In this article, we’ll look at some of the more common tools used in interventional cardiology and how these tools can help the best cardiologist in Florida treat characteristic heart problems.
An interventional cardiologist is a doctor that has had specialized training specifically in the use of catheters. A catheter is a thin, flexible tube used in cardiovascular procedures, like stenting (described below). The best cardiologist in Florida will use a catheter to deliver treatments inside of blood vessels. They may flow x-ray dye through the catheter to enable them to see what’s going on inside arteries and look for blockages. They may use a balloon at the tip of the catheter to open the artery back up and get the blood flowing normally.
A guidewire is a thin, flexible metal wire that’s used to help a cardiologist position balloons or stents in arteries. The guidewire helps your cardiologist to place the treatment at the source of the problem.
When an artery becomes blocked with plaque (a fatty substance), blood flow is reduced through that artery. An angioplasty balloon is carefully positioned with the aid of catheters and guidewires and, once in position, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times in order to get the plaque out of the way so that blood can flow normally. If the plaque in the artery is stubborn and resists an angioplasty balloon, a cutting balloon can be used. This complex tool has small blades that activate once the balloon is inflated. The blades will make tiny slits in the plaque and when the balloon is inflated, the plaque is compressed into the wall of artery.
If an artery is closing (collapsing) or becoming reblocked with plaque, your cardiologist may recommend a stent. This small, metal mesh is inserted with a catheter directly at the site of the blockage. It will be expanded once in place and will prevent the artery from collapsing by reinforcing the artery and keeping it open.
Vascular Closure Devices
Once your interventional procedure is complete, your cardiologist will use a variety of vascular closure devices to close the puncture site of your skin. The doctor may use a collagen plug or they may use a stitch, if your leg was used in the procedure. If your elbow or wrist were accessed, special bands that may be filled with air or other compounds (that help stop bleeding) may be strapped around those areas.
Other Devices: There are a variety of other specialized devices that a cardiologist has at their disposal, depending on your specific situation. First Coast Cardio has the tools necessary to help treat a wide range of heart related disorders. If you’re looking for the best cardiologist in Florida, we offer a uniquely skilled staff with an extensive cardio lab complete with all the tools necessary for your interventional procedure. Call 904.493.333 to schedule your appointment.