Interventional cardiology deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of structural heart diseases. The main advantages of using the interventional cardiology or radiology approach are the avoidance of the scars and pain, and long post-operative recovery.
Most interventional cardiology procedures are considered to be minimally invasive because they do not require an instrument to enter the body or large incisions – most incisions are approximately one inch in length. These procedures usually involve the insertion of a catheter (hollow tube) into the femoral artery in the upper leg. The catheter is guided toward the heart or vascular area through the use of real-time X-ray. Some of the advantages of minimally invasive interventional cardiology include:
• Decreased pain
• Less risk of infection
• Avoidance of large scars
• Often performed on an outpatient basis
• Shorter postoperative recovery times