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Noninvasive & Interventional Cardiology Services

Advanced Heart Care In Phoenix, Tempe & Globe

Cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute offer a range of diagnostic services, noninvasive therapies, and interventional treatment options for patients with heart and vascular health problems. Whether you receive care at our Phoenix, Tempe, or Globe location, you can count on personal attention, an individualized treatment plan, and education about your condition. Lear more about what you should expect out of your cardiologist.

Procedures at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute

The following is a partial list of procedures available through Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute. This list is not comprehensive. Click on a procedure below to learn more about it.

Have questions? Need to schedule an appointment? Call 602-507-6002.

Aortic Balloon Valvuloplasty

The aortic valve is one of four valves in the heart; blood passes through this valve immediately before it goes out into the aorta, which carries blood to the rest of the body. In some patients, the aortic valve becomes stiff with calcium deposits. When this happens, the aortic valve doesn’t open all the way, (1) causing blood to back up in the heart and (2) reducing blood flow through the body.

Aortic valvuloplasty is a catheter-based procedure performed by the interventional cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute. In this procedure, the cardiologist threads a catheter through the patient’s blood vessels up to the aortic valve. Once in place, a small balloon is introduced via catheter. The balloon is inflated at the tip of the catheter, widening the aortic valve. By restoring the aortic valve to its natural size, more blood can pass through the valve.

Arterial Color Flow Doppler

This procedure is a diagnostic test that’s useful for creating an image of the arteries. Arterial color flow Doppler can provide your cardiologist with information about the health of your arteries by monitoring for blood clots, atherosclerosis, and narrowed blood vessels. It also allows the cardiologist to check in on a stent graft, surgical bypass, or other previous procedure.

The test uses ultrasound technology to create an image of the arteries. A small handheld transducer, known as a Doppler device, is held over the area the cardiologist needs to examine. Sound waves are bounced off the arteries; these sound waves are converted into colors, which create the image of the artery.

ASD And VSD Closure

Atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD) are two kinds of congenital heart defects characterized by a hole between the left and right sides of the heart. These holes, which are supposed to close during pregnancy or shortly after birth, allow blood to pass between the two sides of the heart. The mix of oxygen-rich and oxygen-depleted blood means the heart is not working as efficiently as it should.

Interventional cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute can address this problem using minimally invasive catheter-based techniques. During the procedure, a catheter is introduced into the patient’s vascular system. The catheter is guided to the heart. Once in place, a small closure device is passed through the catheter. The closure device plugs the hole in the heart, contributing to healthy heart function.

Atherectomy

Atherectomy is an interventional procedure to remove plaque buildup from within the arterial walls. The procedure may be performed in conjunction with balloon angioplasty (see below). During atherectomy, a thin flexible catheter is inserted into the patient’s blood vessels – oftentimes placed in the femoral artery in the groin. A plaque-removing device is then inserted into the catheter. This device could have a sharp blade, rotary burr, laser, or drill on the end of it. Different cardiologists prefer different devices. The atherectomy device breaks down the plaque into tiny particles, which are safely carried away by the blood. Some cardiologists use a technique that traps these loose particles so they can be physically removed from the bloodstream.

Balloon Angioplasty In the Heart And Peripheral Vessels

Balloon angioplasty is a very common catheter-based procedure used by interventional cardiologists to restore blood flow to arteries that have become narrowed by plaque buildup. During the procedure, the cardiologist introduces a catheter into the patient’s blood vessels. Using advanced imaging technology for guidance, the cardiologist threads the catheter through the patient’s vascular system until it’s positioned at the blockage site in the arteries. This can be done in the coronary arteries, carotid arteries in the neck, arteries in the legs or arms, or elsewhere.

Once the catheter is in place, a small balloon is passed through the catheter. Once it arrives at the tip of the catheter, the balloon is inflated, pressing plaque and fatty deposits against the walls of the artery, thereby improving blood flow through the artery.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a very common diagnostic and interventional procedure in the field of interventional cardiology. During a cardiac catheterization procedure, a thin flexible tube (a catheter) is inserted into the patient’s artery. This insertion may occur in the neck, groin, or elsewhere, depending on the cardiologist’s preferred technique. The catheter is then threaded to the heart (or other area that needs treatment or visualization).

If the catheterization is done for diagnostic purposes, then a special dye may be administered through the catheter. As the dye moves through the heart and arteries, it can be viewed by x-ray, magnetic resonance, or computed tomography. This is known as a coronary angiography. Cardiac catheterization can also be done for treatment purposes, including procedures such as angioplasty, valvuloplasty, and endovascular repair – all procedures that are covered on this page.

Cardiology Consultation

During a cardiology consultation appointment, your cardiologist may review your medical history, perform a physical exam, and recommend diagnostic or treatment options, depending on his or her findings. Physician referral is required for a cardiology consultation. For a cardiologist in Phoenix, Tempe, or Globe, call 602-507-6002.

Chest and Abdominal X-Rays

An x-ray is a noninvasive, harmless diagnostic procedure that allows your cardiologist to see your heart, vascular system, and other internal organs. Sometimes, an x-ray may be performed in real time, aided by a chemical tracer that’s injected into the bloodstream. This is known as fluoroscopy.

Chest x-rays are typically used to examine the heart and aorta, and look for signs of heart failure. Abdominal x-rays are often used to look for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography is a diagnostic exam that begins with catheterization (see Cardiac Catheterization above). Once the catheter is placed in the heart, a special dye is injected to enhance x-ray viewing. This diagnostic procedure helps the cardiologist view plaque in the arteries. It is frequently used in patients who are experiencing angina or have survived sudden cardiac arrest or have received abnormal test results of an EKG or stress test.

Echo-Cardiac / Carotid / Abdominal

An echocardiogram is a noninvasive ultrasound procedure that is used to create an image of the heart. The most common kind of echocardiogram (for the heart) is the transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). In rare cases, some patients may require a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), in which the transducer is inserted down the esophagus to get closer to the heart and surrounding structures.

A carotid sonogram creates an image of the carotid arteries (the main arteries in the neck); an abdominal sonogram creates an image of the abdominal aorta, which can be used for detecting abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG)

An electrocardiogram (abbreviated either ‘ECG’ or ‘EKG’) is a noninvasive diagnostic test your cardiologist may use to evaluate the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG can look for the cause of chest pain and/or the symptoms of heart disease. It can also be used to check in on pacemakers and the effectiveness of drug therapy.

During an EKG, the patient lies on an exam table. Small electrodes are placed on the chest. These electrodes measure heart activity and record patterns in the heart’s rhythm. For the majority of the test you only have to lie still and breath normally. For some portions, your cardiologist may ask you to hold your breath for a short period.

Endovascular Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulging of the aorta (the body’s largest artery) in the abdominal region. If the aneurysm poses a threat of rupture, this condition could be considered life threatening, and may require treatment. In most cases, an abdominal aortic aneurysm with a diameter of 5.5 cm or more necessitates surgery or catheter-based intervention.

At Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, interventional cardiologists may treat AAAs through an endovascular procedure. This is a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure. In the procedure, the cardiologist inserts a catheter (usually through the groin) into the patient’s vascular system. The catheter is threaded to the site of the aneurysm. Once the catheter is positioned, a small stent graft is introduced. The graft is secured to the inside of the aortic wall. Blood passes through the graft in the aorta, relieving pressure on the bulging section of the aortic wall. Over time, the aneurysm may shrink down around the graft.

Intracardiac/Intravascular Ultrasound

An intracardiac (“within the heart”) or intravascular (“within the vessel”) ultrasound is very similar to an echocardiogram (see above). However, instead of using a small handheld transducer outside the body, this type of ultrasound uses a tiny transducer that is inserted into the patient’s vascular system via catheter. This tiny ultrasound device allows the cardiologist to get an extremely up close view of the heart or the artery that needs evaluation. Because of the ease and relatively low level of discomfort involved in the procedure, intracardiac ultrasounds are now being used as an alternative to transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) (see above).

Intracoronary and Peripheral Brachytherapy

Intracoronary and peripheral brachytherapy is an exciting application of interventional cardiology that allows physicians to use radiation – administered from within the blood vessel – to destroy harmful plaque and cell growth in the heart and arteries.

Brachytherapy may be recommended for patients who have had their arteries narrow again after having a stent placement procedure. Like many interventional cardiology procedures, this procedure is catheter-based, which means the entire procedure is done through a small surgical cut in the groin or elsewhere.

Intravascular Stenting

An intravascular stent is a small device permanently placed within an artery to hold the artery open, optimizing blood flow through the vessel. This is a catheter-based procedure. An intravascular stent may be administered in order to prevent occlusion (blockage), open up blood flow in narrowed arteries, and prevent restenosis after a prior intervention.

Lab-Blood Testing

At Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, your cardiologist may use lab blood tests in the diagnosis process. Lab blood tests can provide detailed information about your health that may not be detected in a physical exam or imaging procedure. Common lab blood tests include:

  • Platelet Function Test. This is one of the most basic heart function blood tests; it is used to determine the rate at which your blood clots. This test can measure the effectiveness of antiplatelet medications.
  • Cholesterol/Lipid Tests. Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels may indicate an increased risk for heart disease.
  • Cardiac Enzyme Test. This test may reveal whether or not a patient has recently had a heart attack. The test can also check heart function after angioplasty or some other interventional procedure. Common enzymes tested for include myoglobin, CK-MB, and troponin.
  • C-Reactive Protein. This protein arises in response to inflammation. Elevated levels of C-Reactive protein may indicate an increased risk for heart disease.
  • Genetic Testing. Some patients undergo genetic testing to find out the potential risk of their children inheriting their heart condition.

These are just a few of the tests you may undergo at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute. Many more heart-related blood tests may be relevant for your symptoms.

Laser Recanalization

Laser recanalization – also referred to as “radiofrequency ablation” – is a technique interventional cardiologists use to restore blood flow through the arteries. The procedure uses high-intensity heat to remove plaque and other deposits in the arteries. Laser recanalization is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure that requires no major incisions or lengthy recovery time.

Mitral Balloon Valvuloplasty

The mitral valve is one of four valves in the heart; blood passes through this valve on its way from the left atrium to the left ventricle. In some patients, the mitral valve may narrow, making the heart’s task of pumping blood from the upper to the lower chamber more difficult.

Mitral valvuloplasty is a catheter-based procedure that aims to stretch the mitral valve back to its original size. This is done to restore blood flow and maintain the health of the heart. Many patients choose to have this procedure performed by an interventional cardiologist, as it is usually a preferable alternative to valve surgery.

At Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, the cardiologist threads a catheter through the patient’s blood vessels up to the mitral valve. Once in place, a small balloon is introduced via catheter. The balloon is inflated at the tip of the catheter, widening the mitral valve.

Nuclear Studies And Tomography

Nuclear cardiology is a branch of medicine that allows physicians to see images of the heart and cardiovascular system. These tests, also known as sigle-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scans, are non-invasive. They can help diagnose coronary artery disease by revealing areas of the heart not getting enough blood. Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty plaque deposits build up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. The decreased blood flow prevents oxygen and other nutrients from reaching the heart muscle, which can cause angina (chest pain) and heart failure.

Pacemaker Evaluation

A pacemaker is a permanent device that monitors and regulates a patient’s heartbeat. After several years, the batteries in these devices wear out and must be replaced. Patients with pacemakers may schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute to have their pacemaker evaluated via EKG (see above). This helps ensure that the device is in good working condition; your cardiologist can let you know if you need to have a battery replacement procedure.

Peripheral Vascular Evaluation

A peripheral vascular evaluation is a full evaluation your cardiologist may perform to examine the health of the arteries in your legs (and possibly arms). Depending on your symptoms, your cardiologist may perform an ABI test, which compares blood pressure readings of the arms and legs, and other tests. This evaluation may lay the groundwork for your cardiologist to begin treating your peripheral arterial disease, which affects one in 20 adults over the age of 50.

PFO Closure

The foramen ovale is a hole in the heart’s atrial septum (wall). While this hole is a normal part of the fetal anatomy, it should close at birth. Approximately 25 percent of the population has patent foramen ovale (PFO), a condition in which the hole does not close. About 40 percent of all patients who experience stroke of unknown cause actually have PFO, according to research. The likelihood of having PFO increases in stroke victims under the age of 55.

At Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, interventional cardiologists perform PFO closure, a catheter-based procedure that introduces an artificial repair device that plugs the hole. For many patients, PFO closure may be a necessary, life-saving procedure.

Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a very basic noninvasive diagnostic test that measures oxygen levels in the blood. If you have had any kind of procedure in the past, then you may remember having one of these devices placed on your finger. Pulse oximeters have a light source and light detector. Light flashes through the finger or earlobe, and is absorbed on the other side of the device. The difference in ‘light emitted’ v. ‘light absorbed’ lets your cardiologist know how much oxygen is in your blood stream. This diagnostic test can be used in diagnosing and treating heart attack, congestive heart failure, and other heart- and lung-related conditions.

Second Opinion on Arteriograms

An arteriogram (also known as an angiogram) is a diagnostic test that allows the cardiologist to visualize the arteries in virtually any area of the body. In certain circumstances, arteriograms may be especially difficult to interpret, in which case patients may wish to seek a second opinion – especially if the cardiologist is recommending a procedure based on arteriogram interpretation. The cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute provide second opinions on angiograms for patients in Phoenix, Tempe, Globe, AZ, and beyond. For information on how to have an angiogram sent to our offices, call 602-507-6002.

Thrombolysis

Thrombolysis is the technique of using “clot-busting” drugs to break down blood clots in the arteries. Cardiologists with Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute frequently use thrombolytic medications for treating heart attack and stroke victims in the emergency setting. For the best possible outcome, heart attack victims should receive these drugs within 90 minutes of their hospital arrival time and within 12 hours of the onset of heart attack symptoms.

Looking for a Cardiologist in Tempe, Phoenix, or Globe, AZ?

This list of diagnostic and interventional services is not comprehensive. Additional services are available. Therapies, techniques, and technologies may vary amongst cardiologist and locations. For detailed information about services rendered through Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute – or to schedule an appointment – contact us at 602-507-6002. Cardiologists available in Phoenix, Tempe, and Globe, AZ.

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