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May 4, 2024

The Role of Interventional Cardiology in Restoring Blood Flow to the Heart

Escaping the hectic lifestyle and stress of everyday life is almost impossible for most of us. Anxiety and tension have become our daily companions. The natural fallout of this is a range of lifestyle diseases including heart diseases.

Our heart is an intricate organ with its mesh of veins pumping blood in and out of it. Even a minor issue can lead to a major disaster if left unattended. This is where cardiac intervention comes into play. Through its various methods and scientific advances, interventional cardiology treats issues related to the blood vessels of the heart.

What is Cardiac Intervention?

A subspecialty of cardiology, interventional cardiology uses specialised catheter-based techniques to diagnose and treat diseases related to the heart’s blood vessels such as coronary artery disease, vascular disease, congenital heart defects and structural heart disease.

The speciality uses various diagnostic tools and imaging techniques to measure how the heart is functioning such as blood flow and blood pressure in major arteries in the different chambers of the heart and throughout the body. The primary aim of cardiac intervention is to improve blood flow into the body.

What Diseases Does Interventional Cardiology Treat?

Interventional cardiology treats a variety of conditions that affect the heart including:

Heart valve disease

Our heart has four valves that maintain the flow of blood in the correct direction within the heart. In a heart valve disease, one or more valves in the heart don’t work properly. They may not open or close all the way, which changes the direction of the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Coronary artery disease

Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that deliver blood into the heart. The coronary arteries can get narrowed due to the deposition of plaque (caused by cholesterol deposits), leading to coronary artery disease.

Carotid artery disease

Carotid arteries are the two major blood vessels on either side of the neck that supply blood to the brain. Blockage or narrowing of these arteries is known as carotid artery disease.

Heart attack

Reduction of blockage of the flow of blood to the heart leads to a heart attack.


This is a condition where the arteries are hardened due to the gradual build-up of plaque inside them.

Chronic venous (vein) disease

This condition occurs when the leg veins become damaged or cannot work as they should and the blood flows back up to the heart.

Peripheral artery disease

During peripheral artery disease, the arteries get narrowed, thus reducing the blood flow to the arms and legs.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

The thickening of the heart muscles leads to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Coronary artery fistula

An abnormal connection between one of the coronary arteries and the heart chamber or another blood vessel is known as coronary artery fistula.

Thromboembolic disease

This condition occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein.

Aortic valve stenosis

This is a kind of heart valve disease where the valve between the aorta, the body’s main artery, and the lower left heart chamber is narrowed or does not open fully.

Ventricular septal defect

A hole in the heart is known as a ventricular septal defect. It is usually present at birth. The hole is found at the ventricles, the wall that separates the heart’s lower chamber.

Atrial septal defect

Another heart condition that people are born with, atrial septal defect is a congenital heart defect where there’s a hole between the upper heart chamber that increases the amount of blood going through the lungs.

Difference between General Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology

Cardiology is a vast medical field with distinctive specialisation. While for a layperson, all diseases related to the heart might sound like a cardiological issue, there’s a clear-cut distinction between the various subspecialties.

General cardiologists

They specialise in the diagnosis and care of patients with general heart issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and higher risk of heart attacks. Their primary focus is heart rhythm disorders. However, they cannot perform traditional open-heart surgeries or endoscopic procedures. For such cases, they may refer a patient to more specialised cardiologists. General cardiologists may also follow up on patients who have gone through cardiac intervention procedures or cardiac surgeries and monitor their long-term cardiovascular health.

Cardiac surgeons

Cardiac surgeons perform traditional heart-related surgeries such as coronary artery bypass surgery. They treat heart conditions that are not curable through medication or less invasive catheter-based procedures i.e. neither general cardiologists nor interventional cardiologists.

Interventional cardiologists

Interventional cardiologists are trained to perform specific catheter-based treatments for heart diseases. They place stents in clogged arteries to enable proper flow of blood and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. They can place special devices in the heart enabling it to function properly or repair holes in the heart.

Interventional cardiologists are adept with the newest techniques in this complex medical field such as mitral valve replacement and repairs, cardiac catheterisation, transcatheter aortic valve replacement and more. They perform life-enhancement and life-saving procedures to provide a better life to the patients.

Common Procedures Performed by Interventional Cardiologists

So, what are the most common procedures performed by interventional cardiologists to improve the flow of blood in our bodies?

While there are many, here are the most common ones:

  • Angioplasty
  • Stent Placement
  • Heart Valve Replacement
  • Atherectomy
  • Cardiac catheterisation
  • Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

If you’re keen to know about these procedures in detail, we recommend you to read our article:
From Angioplasty to Stent Placement: A Comprehensive Guide to Cardiac Intervention Procedures.

Care for Your Heart

Your heart is a delicate organ that needs the utmost care. Don’t ignore any discomfort, remember, ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’. The right kind of attention at the right time can save you from a range of issues in the future.

Go for regular checkups and take care of your heart. Meeting a cardiologist at the right time can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

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