Catheter Interventions

The Mount Sinai Heart Institute provides patients with complex coronary disorders access to cutting-edge, catheter-based treatment options without surgery. Cardiac catheterizations (caths) refer to a group of procedures that are performed by inserting a thin, hollow tube (catheter) into arteries in the leg or arm and threading it into the heart. Interventional cardiologists perform caths to evaluate blood flow to the heart and the heart’s pumping ability. Caths can also be used for endovascular procedures to open blocked arteries and correct structural heart defects.

Our cath lab team is skilled in transradial catheterization and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) via the radial artery in the wrist, which offer shorter hospital stays. Multivessel coronary interventions that generally require coronary bypass, even for calcified left main coronary disease, can be treated with advanced catheter techniques. The cath lab team at the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai also has expertise in treating “holes in the heart,” implanting catheter-delivered heart valves (without surgery) and balloon-opening of narrowed valves without open heart surgery.


What is angioplasty?

Angioplasty – sometimes called coronary angioplasty – is a procedure performed to widen blood vessels around the heart that have become blocked with plaque deposits over time. As the body builds up excess cholesterol in the bloodstream, walls of this plaque begin to form on the insides of the blood vessels, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The plaque buildup prevents proper blood flow to the heart. By widening blocked arteries, angipolasty allows for more space for blood to travel and better circulation of blood to the heart.

What does an angioplasty procedure involve?

An angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed without surgical cutting. Doctors use computer imaging equipment to monitor the state of the patient’s heart and blood vessels and thread a thin, narrow tube (catheter) with a tiny balloon attached to the tip through a blood vessel in the arm or in the groin and up to the heart. The doctor will then inflate the balloon, pushing plaque deposits up against the arterial walls and widening the space within the artery. He or she may also place a small spacing device called a stent inside the artery to help it remain unblocked.

Who could benefit from an angioplasty?

Angioplasty is often used to reduce chest pain due to a lack of sufficient blood flow to the heart. An angioplasty can also reduce potential damage to the heart muscle in the event of a heart attack. As a heart attack is caused by a blockage in an artery near the heart, widening these arteries can relieve the blockage and reduce the risk of death in some patients.

How to schedule an appointment

To learn more about angioplasty procedures and options, please call 305-674-2273.

Balloon Valvuloplasty

Balloon valvuloplasty, also called percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty, is a surgical procedure used to open a narrowed heart valve. The procedure is sometimes referred to as balloon enlargement of a narrowed heart valve.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a non-surgical method used to open narrowed arteries that supply heart muscle with blood. This procedure is performed by inserting a catheter (thin, hollow tube) through the skin in the groin or wrist into an artery. At the leading tip of this catheter, several different devices such as a balloon, stent (metal scaffolding used to prop the artery open) or cutting device can be deployed. The catheter and its devices are threaded through the inside of the artery into the coronary artery where narrowing or blockage is present, and utilized to restore blood flow to the heart. PCI can also be used to relieve or reduce angina (chest pain), prevent heart attacks and alleviate congestive heart failure.


Rotablation is a technique in which a device called a rotablator (a tiny drill with a bur on the end) is inserted through a catheter into an artery and used to break apart plaque that is too hard to be cleared with a balloon angioplasty.

Structural Heart Disease Treatments

Structural heart disease most often refers to congenital cardiac defects (defects that are present at birth), but may also include abnormalities of the valves and vessels of the heart wall that develop with wear and tear on the heart, or through other disease processes.

Common structural heart defects include “holes” between chambers of the heart, coarctation of the aorta (a pinched or constricted aorta) and leaky or narrowed valves. An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the top two chambers of the heart. A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a flap-like hole in the wall that separates the upper two chambers of the heart. Cardiac catherization techniques for these include procedures that focus on closing the holes. Our cath lab team treats coarctation of the aorta with devices that enlarge the narrowed artery and implant a stent to keep it open, helping restore blood flow to the rest of the body. Patients with diseased valves may also benefit from the CoreValve® System, which uses a cather to remove a faulty aortic valve and replace it with a prosthetic valve.