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Cardiology - Tools Used by an Interventional Cardiologist

Interventional cardiologists are specialists in cardiovascular disease who use catheters to perform cardiovascular procedures.  These procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting, are performed by guiding tools through the body’s arteries.

Atherectomy Device – a drill, known as the Diamondback Rotablator, helps cardiologists remove tough blockages using a tiny rotating cutting device to open a narrowed artery and improve blood flow.

Balloon – the inflatable portion of catheters used to push the blockage aside and restore blood flow.

Catheter – a slender, plastic tube that can be placed at the beginning of a blood vessel to deliver treatments inside that vessel. During a diagnostic angiogram, X-ray dye is delivered through the catheter into the arteries so the cardiologist can view images of any blockages. During angioplasty, a balloon is mounted to the catheter and inflated to reopen the artery for blood flow.

Cutting Balloon – a special balloon tip containing blades used to treat plaque that is resistant to traditional balloon angioplasty.

Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) – procedure for measuring how much blood flow is restricted by a blockage in an artery.

Guide Wire – a long and flexible fine metal wire used to place balloons or stents.

Heart Pump (Impella) – pulls blood from the left ventricle and expels blood from the catheter into the ascending aorta.

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) – uses sounds waves to create images and determine if a blockage is present in an artery.

Spectranetics Laser – uses photoablation, the use of light to break down matter, to remove plaque from arteries.

Stent – a small, mesh metal tube that is placed by a catheter and embedded within the artery.

Vascular Closure Devices – include collagen plugs, stitches or bands.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Imaging – imaging method for taking high-resolution pictures of blood vessels walls.