Interventional Cardiology

Bay Area Heart Center offers cutting-edge interventional cardiology care in St. Petersburg and Largo, Florida for the treatment of heart disease. Our physicians educate patients on preventing and treating cardiovascular conditions including coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease.

However, you may need an interventional procedure to improve your health and quality of life. Our highly skilled interventional cardiologists utilize minimally invasive procedures to treat heart disease. They will take the time to make sure you understand your procedure and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Cardiac Catheterization, including Transradial Cath

A diagnostic cardiac catheterization, also called coronary angiogram or heart catheterization, is a procedure that provides detailed information about the function of the heart and its arteries. By combining information from blood tests and other diagnostic tests with a cardiac catheterization procedure, your doctor can accurately diagnose a heart condition and the most effective treatment plan.

Cardiac catheterization is typically performed by inserting a catheter into the femoral artery in the groin (where the leg bends at the hip) and threading it through the arteries to the heart to perform the angiogram. The doctor uses a special type of X-ray camera to properly position the catheter and injects a contrast dye through the catheter into the heart and its arteries. Normal arteries will appear in black while blockages appear as white areas.

At Bay Area Heart Center, our interventional cardiologists also perform heart catheterization through the radial artery in the wrist rather than the groin. Using this method, patients do not require bedrest and are able to return to work quicker, and they have no vascular complications or groin pain.

Cardiac Catheterization

Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Placement

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), or balloon angioplasty, is a procedure used to open narrowed coronary arteries. It is performed with a local anesthesia while the patient is awake. Patients whose angina has not been relieved by medications are generally the best candidates for PTCA.

There are several other commonly used treatments for opening blocked arteries such as the rotoblator procedure (tiny rotating blades) or atherectomies (cutters) to cut away plaque buildup on the artery walls, or stents (tiny metal scaffolds) to widen obstructed arteries.

The stent is a stainless steel device that compresses the plaque, much like in the coronary balloon angioplasty procedure. It is implanted by guiding a thin, balloon-tipped catheter through the artery to the blockage. The collapsed stent is part of the catheter tip, and when the balloon is inflated, the stent expands into place, allowing the flow of blood once again through the coronary arteries. After a couple of weeks, tissue forms around the stent and it becomes a permanent support for the artery.

Carotid Stenting

Carotid artery stenting is a minimally invasive procedure in which your cardiologist expands the carotid artery by inserting a stent to increase blood flow in areas blocked by plaque.

In atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, plaque builds up in the walls of your arteries as you age. Cholesterol, calcium, and fibrous tissue make up the plaque. As more plaque accumulates, your arteries can narrow and stiffen. Eventually, enough plaque may build up to reduce blood flow through your arteries, or cause blood clots or pieces of plaque to break free and to block the arteries in the brain beyond the plaque.

  • Before / After Carotid Stent
  • Carotid Stent Placing
  • Carotid Blockage

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Stent Grafting

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a weak area of the abdominal aorta that expands or bulges. The pressure from blood flowing through your abdominal aorta can cause a weakened part of the aorta to bulge, much like a balloon.

A normal aorta is about one inch (or about two centimeters) in diameter. However, an AAA can stretch the aorta beyond its safety margin as it expands.

Aneurysms are a health risk because they can burst or rupture. A ruptured aneurysm can cause severe internal bleeding, which can lead to shock or even death.

Endovascular means that the treatment is performed inside your artery using long, thin tubes called catheters that are threaded through your blood vessels. This procedure is less invasive, meaning that your cardiologist will need to make small incisions in your groin area through which to thread the catheters.

During the procedure, your cardiologist will use live X-ray pictures viewed on a video screen to guide a fabric and metal tube, called an endovascular stent graft (or endograft), to the site of the aneurysm. The endovascular stent graft also strengthens the aorta.

The illustration below shows the placement of an endovascular stent graft in an aortic aneurysm. In figure A, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin (upper thigh). It is then threaded up to the abdominal aorta, and the stent graft is released from the catheter. In figure B, the stent graft allows blood to flow through the aneurysm.

  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Aneurysm Stenting

Lower Extremity (Peripheral) Angioplasty and Stenting

Peripheral angioplasty and stenting is performed much like that of coronary angioplasty or stenting, but is used to open blocked arteries or remove blood clots in the patient's legs.

Renal Artery Angiography and Stenting

Renal artery angioplasty and stenting is performed to remove blood clots or open blocked renal arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the kidneys).

Thrombectomy and Thrombolysis for DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition caused by a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs. Symptoms of DVT may include swelling, pain, and tenderness in the legs. People who are immobile for long periods of time or who are on hormone therapy are at the highest risk, as well as women who are pregnant.

Thrombectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a blood clot from a leg vein. It is typically performed as emergency surgery in cases of acute blockage and severe pain. Thrombolysis is a minimally invasive technique for breaking up blood clots. During this procedure, clot-dissolving drugs are delivered through an intravenous (IV) line or a long catheter directly to the site of the blockage.

Pulmonary Thrombectomy

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a complication of DVT. It is a blood clot that travels from your leg to your lungs and blocks a blood vessel. Pulmonary thrombectomy is emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the pulmonary arteries.

Management of Diabetic Feet / Claudication

Foot problems are a common complication of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar that is a source of fuel for the body. 

Normally, insulin, a hormone, helps glucose get into the body's cells so that it is used for energy. People with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or the insulin does not work like it should. Therefore, glucose does not get into the body's cells. As a result, there is too much sugar in the blood, which can make people ill and result in medical complications. 

Diabetes is manageable. People with diabetes need to be aware of the possible associated medical problems.

IVC Filter Placement and Retrieval

An IVC filter is a filter or “umbrella” placed in the inferior vena cava (the large vein coming from the lower body to the heart) to catch clots so they do not go to the brain, heart, or elsewhere. IVC filters are used when a patient has a DVT (deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot in the leg) or PE (pulmonary emboli – a blood clot in the lung).

Hemodialysis Graft Catheter Declotting

Hemodialysis graft catheter declotting is a procedure performed in the cath lab for patients who have dialysis grafts that are clogged with clots/blockages and need to be cleared out or opened to continue their dialysis treatments.

For a consultation with one of our interventional cardiologists, call (727) 544-1441 or request an appointment online.