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The Role of an Interventional Cardiologist


Interventional cardiology uses specialized techniques to diagnose and treat several types of cardiovascular issues. We’ll discuss the role of the interventional cardiologist, how they differ from general cardiologists, and what treatments they offer.

What Is Interventional Cardiology?

Interventional cardiology is a specialized branch of cardiology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel conditions using non-surgical methods like catheters, stents, and x-rays.

Interventional cardiologists work to prevent heart disease and heart surgery by proactively addressing problems involving the arteries, heart valves, and the heart’s four chambers.

Interventional Cardiologists vs. General Cardiologists

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Both interventional and general cardiologists must complete up to 10 years of education in addition to obtaining an undergraduate degree and attending medical school. While interventional cardiologists and general cardiologists both specialize in the heart, their approach to care differs through their specialization and training.

It is a requirement for interventional cardiologists to complete training in minimally invasive heart treatment using catheters.

While Interventional cardiologists will see patients for initial consultation and follow-up in an office, interventional procedures are performed in a cardiac cath lab. General cardiologists usually work within the typical doctor’s office and will diagnose or test patients in an exam room. General cardiologists may prescribe medications to address the symptoms of a particular heart condition and will help the patient manage their heart symptoms on a regular basis.

If further treatment is needed, patients are then referred to an interventional cardiologist or a cardiac surgeon to perform a procedure where greater correction of a heart problem, such as bypass surgery, is needed.

A patient will generally see their interventional cardiologist prior to and during treatment, and for follow-up when needed thereafter. However, a general cardiologist’s patients will see them on a regular basis and over a longer period of time.

Common Interventional Cardiology Tools

Interventional cardiologists use a wide range of tools to diagnose heart problems. These include:

Stress test equipment monitors and records how the heart responds to high-level exercise. This can also be combined with MPI, or myocardial perfusion imaging, which works with the injection of a radioactive tracer to produce heart cell images to assist with the measurement of blood flow.

An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound that produces images that help interventional cardiologists diagnose problems with the shape, size, and function of the heart.

Another type of imaging used by interventional cardiologists is cardiac MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. This tool provides highly detailed information about the heart’s function and structure.

Interventional cardiologists can get a look into the insides of blood vessels using sound waves using intravascular ultrasound.

For critical issues, including blockages, interventional cardiologists inject dye into the bloodstream, and then use angiographic imaging, which works with the dye to reveal issues.

Interventional Cardiology Procedures

Depending on the findings following use of specialized tools, interventional cardiologists will be able to perform treatments for a wide range of conditions that affect both the heart and the blood vessels that supply it.

Coronary artery disease can cause arteries to narrow, restricting the flow of blood and ultimately damaging the heart. This condition is treated with angioplasty, a procedure that widens the arteries with the inflation of a tiny balloon, and the insertion of a stent.

Blood clots can block coronary arteries completely, leading to serious and even fatal conditions. An endovascular thrombectomy removes these clots in a minimally invasive way.

Heart valve disease can render this important part of the heart inoperable, but valve repair can restore the functionality of heart valves.

Calcified lesions in coronary arteries can lead to the development of coronary artery disease. Rotational atherectomy carefully removes these lesions.

Atrial septal defect is a heart condition that occurs in the womb. This birth defect is treated with repair and closure techniques to correct the condition.

Why Choose Interventional Cardiology?

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Choosing to have an interventional cardiology procedure can help prevent the progression of an existing condition and prevent the development of new problems in the future.

Because the treatments offered by interventional cardiologists are minimally invasive and often catheter-based, patients can often undergo treatment and return home on the same day.

Interventional Cardiology with Crystal Run Healthcare

Heart issues can occur at any age. Thanks to interventional cardiology, a wide range of cardiovascular problems can be corrected in a short time and without the need for more invasive heart surgery.

Crystal Run Healthcare is proud to offer our patients a team of five highly skilled and fellowship-trained interventional cardiologists. They perform emergency and elective interventional cardiac procedures in state-of-the-art catheterization labs in the hospital setting to treat heart and peripheral vascular diseases.

Crystal Run Healthcare is dedicated to caring for patients in the Hudson Valley and across the entire state of New York with the latest procedures, equipment, and technology. With locations in Middletown, Monroe, Newburgh, and West Nyack, our patients benefit from the best medical care that’s conveniently located close to home.

Our best practices and proven treatments are built on the foundation of evidence-based care, which has been proven to lower complications, provide better control of disease, and improve the overall health of our patients.

Visit us to learn more about our specialists and book your appointment.