Interventional Radiology

How Interventional Radiology Can Help Potential Heart Patients

Aug 11, 2021Arterial Disease, Radiofrequency Ablation, Vascular Disease

Did you know that every 36 seconds, someone dies due to heart problems? According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Early detection and intervention are crucial to help improve someone’s outcome and quality of life when it comes to heart disease. 

Luckily, advances in technology have allowed for less invasive options when it comes to cardiac procedures. Interventional radiology is a less invasive option to treat and diagnose certain cardiac and blood vessel problems.

Keep reading on to learn more about interventional radiology and how it can benefit potential heart patients. 

How Does Interventional Radiology Work?

Interventional radiology uses advanced medical imagining techniques to diagnose and treat certain blood vessels and lymph vessels throughout the body.

All IR procedures require an interventional radiologist to perform the procedure. An interventional radiologist is a specialty trained doctor in using imaging equipment to perform certain procedures. 

IR procedures are minimally invasive and use a small incision and imagining equipment. In the past, many of these procedures would have required invasive surgery.

There is numerous advanced imaging equipment that interventional radiologists use to guide them through the procedure. Depending on the procedure an interventional radiologist may use:

  • Ultrasound
  • CAT scan
  • Live x-ray
  • Fluoroscopy 

These imagining devices allow for a real-time view of the procedure without invasive surgery.

Blocked Artery

Interventional radiology procedures are especially helpful in treating potential heart patients with atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when there is a buildup of fatty plaque on the heart’s blood vessels. 

Atherosclerosis can cause chest pain and shortness of breath and may lead to a heart attack if left untreated. In order to reduce the damage to the heart, something must be done fast.  

An IR procedure known as an Angioplasty can be performed to help resolve atherosclerosis. An angioplasty can open up the blocked arteries. 

Unfortunately, the alternative to an angioplasty would be a major heart surgery known as coronary artery bypass surgery. Coronary artery bypass surgery requires the blocked part of the artery to bypass that area by using a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body. This is major surgery and requires a hospital stay and a much longer recovery time. 

Angioplasty and Stents Procedures 

An angioplasty uses interventional radiology rather than surgery to help open up arteries in the heart. Many times one or more stents may be needed to repair and keep an artery open. The Coastal Vascular Center offers angioplasty to help cardiac patients how are suffering from blocked arteries. 

During an angioplasty procedure, the interventional radiologist will make a small cut to insert a needle and ballon. Then using Fluoroscopy, the doctor can guide the needle and ballon to a blocked artery. 

After the balloon is inflated in the blocked artery, the plaque blocking the artery is pushed against the artery wall, allowing for blood flow to return through the previous blockage.

Many times stents are needed to be placed during an angioplasty procedure to keep the coronary artery open. The stent is placed with the needle and ballon and stays in place for several weeks. After the stent is placed, the artery heals itself around the stent keeping the artery open. 

Angioplasty is minimally invasive, and many patients can return to work after a few days to a week of rest. 

Benefits of Interventional Radiology

There are numerous benefits to using an IR procedure for some heart conditions. In many cases, the alternative option of an IR procedure is surgery. When it comes to cardiac patients, some benefits of using IR procedures instead of surgery include:

  • Less stress on the heart
  • Quicker recovery
  • Safer procedure

Interventional radiology may not be an option for all cardiac concerns and conditions. However, when possible, it can be a safer and better option than surgery. 

Less Stress on The Heart

Surgery always comes with risks. However, when someone already has a heart concern, a major heart surgery can become even riskier. 

With major heart surgery, a patient must undergo anesthesia for a long period of time. Sometimes for several hours, depending on the complexity of the case. This can put added stress on the heart.

Since IR procedures are less invasive than major heart surgery, they do not require as much anesthesia. Sometimes just a light sedative is administered to keep the patient safe and comfortable during the procedure.   

Quicker Recovery

For many patients, since IR procedures require only a small incision, the procedure is less painful. Additionally, since they are less invasive, sometimes the procedures do not require a hospital stay. Patients can recover much quicker and return to daily tasks quicker with IR procedures.

Safer Procedure

Since IR procedures use advanced imaging techniques, it can allow the doctor to assess the area of the body more thoroughly. Using advanced imagining the interventional radiologist can see precisely what is happening in the body during the procedure. This can prevent damage to the surrounding tissues, organs, and skin.

Since the IR procedure is less invasive, there is a decreased risk of infection.

Interventional Radiology for Heart Patients

It is incredible to think about how far technology has come when it comes to medical procedures. Today, we can fix damaged arteries in the heart by a small incision in some cases rather than major surgery. 

Talk with your doctor to find out if interventional radiology is an option for you to help your cardiac problems. 

When dealing with a heart concern, it is crucial that you find the best doctor for your care. Contact Coastal Vascular Center today to learn about the innovative interventional radiology procedures that they offer. 

Health-related information on is for educational purposes only and, therefore not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.