Small Incisions, Major Improvements
Not all heart issues require major surgery. A number of conditions and illnesses can often be treated with minimally invasive procedures, including heart attacks.
Minimally invasive procedures use one or more small incisions, rather than one large one. This usually means less bleeding and a faster recovery time for patients.
Cardiac Catheterization is Key
Our digital catheterization labs have made exciting advances in cardiac medicine in recent years by using minimally invasive techniques for heart surgery. By threading a catheter – a thin, flexible medical instrument – through a vein to the heart, any number of procedures can be performed without the need for open-heart surgery.
Some of those procedures include:
- Angioplasty: In an angioplasty, the cardiologist uses the catheter to guide a small balloon into a blocked artery and inflates it, to widen the artery and improve the blood flow.
- Stent Placement: A stent is a mesh tube of springy metal about the diameter of an artery. The cardiologist uses the catheter to guide the compressed stent into place, then withdraws a sheath which allows the stent to assume its full shape. The stent helps to keep the artery open. After using angioplasty to open a blocked artery, a stent is commonly put in place to help prevent the artery from re-closing.
- Rotablator Procedures: A Rotablator is a tiny rotating device fitted with microscopic diamond "blades" that the cardiologist guides into place with a catheter. It removes hardened deposits from artery walls, shaving them into miniscule particles that are carried away harmlessly by the bloodstream.
- WATCHMAN Implant: The FDA-approved WATCHMAN implant is a permanent device that offers an alternative to lifelong blood thinner use for patients with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve condition. The quarter-sized device, which can reduce patients' risk of stroke as effectively as warfarin, is inserted via catheter into the heart's left atrial appendage. Learn more about the WATCHMAN implant.
Schedule an Appointment
The first step in addressing your heart concerns is to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists. They have the expertise you need to evaluate, diagnose and recommend the right treatment for you.
To schedule an appointment, or refer a patient, please call our referral line at 253-572-7320 (Puget Sound Region) or 509-755-5500 (Inland Northwest Region).