Interventional cardiology is minimally invasive procedures that use catheters to diagnose and treat a wide range of heart diseases. At the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, we offer the most advanced minimally invasive procedures.
Our highly trained interventional cardiologists have the skills and experience to treat even the rarest, most complex heart conditions. We can help you if other treatments have failed or if you have been told that there are no treatment options for you. Our unmatched expertise means that whatever heart condition you have, we can treat it.
Why Choose Barnes-Jewish Hospital for Interventional Cardiology?
People come to us from across St. Louis and the surrounding states because we offer:
- Nationally recognized expertise: Through extensive training and research participation, our interventional cardiologists provide the highest quality care. We were the first in Missouri to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a groundbreaking procedure for heart valve disease. Doctors from around the region entrust their patients to us for the most complex heart care.
- All available minimally invasive procedures: At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, you have access to every minimally invasive option for diagnosing and treating heart disease. Our team has expertise in all cardiac catheterization procedures approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We also participate in the latest clinical trials that evaluate new procedures and new ways to use approved procedures in more patients.
- Research innovations: Our dedication to advancing patient care puts our team at the forefront of research in interventional cardiology. As our patient, you may be eligible to receive promising new treatments in our clinical trials, before they are widely available. Learn more about our innovation through research and clinical trials.
- Locations across St. Louis: You will come to our main location, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, for diagnostic and treatment procedures. You can also schedule office visits at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and the Barnes-Jewish Center for Advanced Medicine – South County. Find our locations.
What Is Interventional Cardiology?
Interventional cardiology is a subspecialty of cardiology that uses minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat heart disease. Specially trained cardiologists use long, thin tubes called catheters with special instruments inserted through them to treat heart conditions.
We perform these procedures, called cardiac catheterization (cath), on an outpatient basis. Usually, you go home the same day.
In a cardiac cath procedure, your doctor makes a tiny incision into a blood vessel, usually in the groin or wrist. They insert the catheter into the vessel and guide it to the area of your heart for treatment.
The benefits of cardiac catheterization include:
- Usually no hospital stay
- Less pain
- Reduced bleeding or scarring
- Faster recovery
- Decreased risk of complications
Conditions We Treat With Interventional Cardiology
Our skilled interventional cardiologists use cardiac cath to diagnose and treat a range of heart and vascular conditions.
We use interventional cardiology procedures to treat heart diseases including:
- Atherosclerosis: This vascular disease occurs when cholesterol and other fatty substances build up inside arteries. The buildup, called plaque, can narrow or block arteries anywhere in the body.
- Coronary artery disease: Atherosclerosis that develops in coronary (heart) arteries is called coronary artery disease. Find out more about our coronary artery disease treatment.
Structural heart disease
Structural heart disease affects the heart’s walls and valves. We use cardiac cath to treat structural heart diseases such as:
- Congenital heart disease: People can be born with conditions that affect heart structure, such as abnormal openings. Many people who receive treatment in childhood for these conditions need additional care as adults. Our interventional cardiologists treat adult congenital heart disease with minimally invasive cardiac cath procedures.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This condition causes the heart muscle to become thick and stiff. Learn more about our procedures and other treatments for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
- Left atrial appendage (LAA): This small pouch extends from the left atrium (upper heart chamber). People who have atrial fibrillation have a higher risk of stroke from a blood clot, which more commonly develops in the LAA. We can close off the LAA with a cardiac cath procedure to reduce the risk of stroke.
- Valvular heart disease: Heart valves open and close with each heartbeat to allow blood to flow through the heart. Heart valve diseases include stenosis, when valves stiffen and narrow, preventing enough blood flow, and regurgitation, when loose valves allow blood to flow backward. Learn more about valvular heart disease.
Vascular diseases affect the blood vessels (arteries and veins), many of which can be treated with minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures. Learn more about the vascular diseases we treat at the Heart & Vascular Center.
Arrhythmias and heart rhythm disorders
Arrhythmias are conditions that affect the heart’s electrical system, which controls your heart rate and rhythm. Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Learn more about our minimally invasive cardiac electrophysiology procedures to diagnose and treat arrhythmias.
Our Interventional Cardiology Procedures
Our interventional cardiologists perform cardiac cath to diagnose and treat heart conditions. In many cases, we can diagnose and treat the condition during the same procedure.
Diagnostic catheterization procedures
- coronary angiography to check coronary arteries for blockages, damage or blood clots
- intracoronary Doppler flow velocity measurements to measure blood flow through heart arteries
- intravascular ultrasound to see inside blood vessels
- left ventriculography to see how well the left side of the heart is working
- measurement of intracardiac pressures to check for signs of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure)
- optical coherence tomography (OCT) to check inside heart arteries for blockages
- right heart catheterization to check heart function on the right side
Catheterization procedures for treatment
- angioplasty and stenting for coronary artery disease
- alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- atherectomy to remove plaque from inside arteries
- closures for abnormal openings such as patent foramen ovale and atrial septal defect
- heart valve treatment such as mitral valve repair, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), valve-in-valve replacement procedures and valvuloplasty
- placement of heart pumps to support complex procedures or facilitate transplant
- thrombectomy to remove blood clots from blood vessels
Comprehensive Heart Care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
After your cardiac cath procedure, the next step in your care is cardiac rehabilitation. Our cardiac rehab programs help you rebuild your strength and prevent future heart disease. Exercise physiologists work with you during physical therapy, and registered dietitians teach you about healthy lifestyle changes. Learn more about our cardiac rehabilitation.
If you need further treatment for heart disease, we coordinate your care with cardiac surgeons at the Heart & Vascular Center. Learn more about what to expect with cardiac surgery.
To make an appointment with a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 314-362-1291.