Cardiac Procedures

Carolina Cardiology Consultants performed the listed procedures at Greenville Memorial Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Health and Baptist Easley. We work closely with the cardiac cath lab staff at each facility to provide input regarding the up to date equipment and cardiac procedures. Our cardiologists specialize in cardiac catherization, angioplasty, stenting and pacemaker placement.

Recently, two of our cardiologists used the Impella Device to perform cardiac angioplasty. This procedure was the first in South Carolina.

Angioplasty/Stenting

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PCI), or Angioplasty, is an invasive procedure performed to reduce or eliminate blockages in coronary arteries. The goal of PCI is to restore blood flow to blood-deprived heart tissue, reduce the need for medication, and eliminate or reduce the number of episodes of angina (chest pain).

Opening a blockage, or a plaque, in a coronary artery typically involves the use of an angioplasty balloon. When the blockage is calcified or so dense that a balloon cannot be placed, other devices are used. Plaque can be cut out, ablated with a laser, or bored out using a surgical drill bit. Often, a stent is implanted after angioplasty to keep the artery open and prevent restenosis (regrowth of plaque).

Peripheral Vascular Intervention

Peripheral Vascular Intervention procedures help to open blockages in peripheral arteries and restore blood flow to the lower body, legs or kidneys. If it is determined that a blockage is causing an obstruction, Angioplasty is performed. Angioplasty involves inflating a tiny balloon within the obstructed artery in order to open the narrowed area. After Angioplasty, one or more stents may be placed to keep the artery open.

Cardiac Catheterization

This is a procedure done on the heart. The cardiologist inserts a thin plastic tube (catheter) into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. From there it can be advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries. This test can measure blood pressure within the heart and how much oxygen is in the blood. It’s also used to get information about the pumping ability of the heart muscle and check for blockage in the coronary arteries.

To help you through the process, we’ve developed these patient education sheets to make your experience as seamless as possible:

ASF/PFO Closure

There are two kinds of holes in the heart. One is called an atrial septal defect (ASD), and the other is a patent foramen ovale (PFO). Although both are holes in the wall of tissue (septum) between the left and right upper chambers of the heart (atria), their causes are quite different.

An ASD is a failure of the septal tissue to form between the atria, and as such it is considered a congenital heart defect, something that you are born with. Generally an ASD hole is larger than that of a PFO. The larger the hole, the more likely there are to be symptoms.

PFOs, on the other hand, can only occur after birth when the foramen ovale fails to close. The foramen ovale is a hole in the wall between the left and right atria of every human fetus. This hole allows blood to bypass the fetal lungs, which cannot work until they are exposed to air. For the vast majority of the millions of people with a PFO, it is not a problem, even though blood is leaking from the right atrium to the left. Problems can arise when that blood contains a blood clot.

Depending on whether the clot takes a right or left turn as it exits the heart, it can travel to the brain and cause stroke. Statistically speaking, the odds of this happening are low, but it can happen.

How would you know?

Finding out whether you have a PFO is not easy, and it’s something that isn’t usually investigated unless a patient is having symptoms like severe migraines or stroke.

PFO is diagnosed with an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram, also called a cardiac echo, creates an image of the heart using ultrasound.