Interventional Heart Care
Section Chief: Donald E. Cutlip, MD
Click on the video below for a patient's guide to having an interventional heart procedure in the CardioVascular Institute's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.
Catheter-Based Diagnosis and Treatment
The CardioVascular Institute offers state-of-the-art catheter-based diagnosis and treatment for patients with coronary disease.
Catheterization is a procedure that allows your doctor to detect problems with your heart and its blood supply. The doctor inserts a tube (catheter) into an artery in your arm or leg, and feeds it up and into the heart. This permits the doctor to take blood samples, measure blood pressure within the heart and take X-rays.
The CVI operates the one of the highest-volume cardiac catheterization programs in New England, performing more than 4,000 catheterizations and 1,500 interventional procedures annually with the latest technology. Its staff members continue to play a major role in the development and evaluation of cutting-edge technologies for the treatment of complex cardiovascular disorders. Many interventional patients are enrolled in clinical trials providing access to novel treatments.
Interventional procedures performed at the CVI include:
- Complex conventional angioplasty
- Coronary atherectomy
- Coronary stent placement
- Directional and rotational atherectomy
- Ethanol septal ablation
- Intravascular ultrasound
- Endomyocardial biopsy
- Balloon aortic and mitral valvuloplasty
- Peripheral procedures
- Transcatheter patent foramen ovale (PFO) and atrial septal defect (ASD) closure
The CVI has established a number of initiatives to ensure that our patients receive the safest and best interventional care. They include:
- Ongoing comparisons of our outcomes following cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty, and carotid artery stenting procedures with the performance of hospitals across the nation. Comparisons include use of benchmarks and sophisticated mathematical models to take into account the differences in severity of illness and co-existing medical conditions among our patients.
- Collaborative efforts with our Emergency Department, the Emergency Medical Services of the City of Boston, and nearby community hospitals to minimize delays in providing prompt evaluation and treatment (including emergent coronary angioplasty and open heart surgery) for patients suffering a heart attack.
- Vigorous continuous quality improvement program to reduce the amount of X-ray radiation used to perform cardiac catheterization and angioplasty procedures.
- Participation of CardioVascular Institute faculty members in statewide, national and international initiatives and committees evaluating and strengthening the efficacy, safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular procedures, devices, drugs and other treatments.
The cardiac catheterization suite includes five fully digital, flat-screen catheterization laboratories and a hybrid operating room / cath lab. The latter enables our physicians and surgeons to collaborate in complex, hybrid electrophysiology and coronary procedures. We fax preliminary findings and recommendations to referring physicians within minutes of completing each case.
Each catheterization laboratory has state-of-the-art hemodynamic imaging equipment for the study of blood flow. Our digital cath labs provide higher resolution imaging at lower radiation doses for patients undergoing coronary angiography, stent placement and other complex and common cardiac procedures.