Cardiac Catheterization (“Heart Cath”): From the groin or the wrist
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where a small plastic catheter is placed within a large artery in your leg or wrist and advanced to your heart. This technique is used to take pictures of the arteries of the heart and the pump function of the left ventricle. The procedure provides the most detailed and accurate information on the anatomy of the coronary arteries. Cardiac catheterization is necessary before a decision can be made about whether coronary stenting or bypass surgery is necessary.
More and more frequently, heart catheterization is being performed from the wrist rather than from the groin. This approach affords the benefit of easy ambulation immediately after the procedure and minimizes the risk of bleeding complications. Most patients prefer the radial approach for comfort reasons. Dr. George Younis is performing transradial catheterizations regularly, and is one of few doctors at St. Luke's Hospital / Texas Heart Institute with extensive experience in the technique.
Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) and Stenting
Coronary angioplasty and stenting is a technique used to open up narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. It is carried out in a manner similar to cardiac catheterization. Plastic tubes are inserted through a large artery in your leg or wrist and advanced to the opening of the coronary arteries. Small balloons are then placed through these small plastic tubes (catheters) and slid down the coronary arteries to the level of narrowing. These balloons are inflated at the site of coronary narrowing, resulting in compression or flattening outwards of the cholesterol plaque and blood clotting substances that make up the blockage. Whenever possible, a small metal pipe called a stent is then implanted at the site of the previous blockage. This stent helps to keep the artery open.
Peripheral Angiography, Angioplasty, Stenting, Atherectomy
Peripheral arterial disease is a common cause of leg pain with walking, contributes to poorly healing ulcers, and can lead to amputation. Using techniques similar to heart catheterization, angiography and intervention can be performed on the vasculature in the aorta, pelvis, and legs. More information can be found at the Vascularcures.org.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)
For therapy of painful, throbbing legs due to varicose veins and/or venous insufficiency, endovenous laser therapy is a quick, minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping. It leaves no scarring and is performed under local anesthesia in a doctor's office. It also features a short, relatively pain-free recovery time. Prior to treatment, a physical examination using an ultrasound machine is completed to map out the vein to be treated. More information is available at www.treatveins.com