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Interventional Cardiology

Baystate Medical Center is the only hospital in Western Massachusetts that provides special treatments for chest pain, heart attacks and vascular interventions. In fact, the first cardiac catheterization was performed at Baystate Medical center in 1973. BMC has the only full service interventional cardiac catheterization laboratory in Western Massachusetts. All our 4 cardiac suites are equipped with the latest in technology to be able to diagnose and treat heart and vascular diseases including percutaneous closure of atrial septal heart defects.


Baystate ranks in the top 10% nationally for heart attack care offering primary angioplasty which allows patients to be readily screened (if having symptoms of a heart attack) and if appropriate sent directly to the cath lab for treatments. Our laboratories are open for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We perform emergency procedures on patients from our hospital and from other hospitals in our region that have an unstable cardiac problem, often a life threatening heart attack. Our cardiac catheterization laboratory has been involved in many research projects over the years which have lead to advances in the way we treat patients having a heart attack.

What is Interventional Cardiology?

Refers to non-surgical procedures used in the  treatment of coronary artery and peripheral vascular disease and performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory.

Tests & Procedures
Cardiac Catheterization (Angiography): This is a procedure that provides your doctor with information about your heart’s arteries, valves, blood flow, and pumping action. Depending upon your condition, this test can be performed as a one-day procedure where you can go home the same day, or it may require a brief admission to the hospital. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a very thin tube called a catheter into your affected artery (usually in your groin area) and directs it through the artery into aorta, then into your heart. The test takes approximately 30 - 90 minutes.
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) (Angioplasty with Stent): Some coronary artery blockages may require a procedure called angioplasty or PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention). Angioplasty is a safe and effective treatment option that opens coronary artery narrowings or blockages without surgery. The procedure and preparation are very similar to the cardiac catheterization procedure in which your coronary artery narrowing was originally diagnosed. The stent is a tiny, flexible, stainless steel tube that is used to help open a narrowed blood vessel. The stent is usually used during the angioplasty or atherectomy procedure itself, while you are still in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. The coronary stent is located on a special angioplasty balloon catheter. The stent balloon catheter is passed through a guiding catheter to the site of the vessel narrowing. Once in place, the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving the stent in the artery. The stent is slightly compressed into the wall of the artery.
Drug Eluding Stents: These contain a medication that is slowly released to the stent implantation site. The medication is located within a plastic coating which allows for a slow release of the drug into the artery wall around the stent. The action of the drug is intended to limit the overgrowth of normal tissue as the healing process occurs following stent implantation.


Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR):
While open aortic valve repair has been the standard of care for symptomatic, severe aortic valve stenosis for decades, it is not an option for many patients deemed too high a risk for open-heart surgery, typically because of aortic calcification, underlying lung disease, or frailty. Another procedure, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), is now available for inoperable and high risk patients. The TAVR procedure is similar to angioplasty and stent procedure. Under general anesthesia, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the patient’s groin. A replacement valve is placed on a stent, which is advanced through the blood vessel and into the heart. Once it reaches the aortic valve, a balloon is inflated, pushing the calcification and the faulty valve against the aortic wall, making room for the new valve. TAVR can also be performed with a transthoracic approach, using a small incision in the chest to access the aortic valve directly through the tip of the heart, which further opens up the procedure to patients who also have blood vessel diseases in the leg that would prohibit the catheter approach. TAVR has many benefits for patients, including a quicker recovery, and outcomes for the procedure are superior in inoperable patients compared to medical therapy alone. Baystate Medical Center is the only hospital outside of Boston in Massachusetts to offer the TAVR procedure.

Types of Conditions
Coronary Artery Disease
Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
Vascular Disease