GCVS Now Offers Interventional Cardiology Procedures by Dr. Eric Owens
Cardiology may be thought of as a three-pronged specialty, with those three prongs being medical cardiology, interventional cardiology, and electrophysiology. These different aspects of the field coalesce to optimize patient care. Medical cardiology is an aspect of the field that is commonplace in veterinary medicine. Medical cardiology involves echocardiograms, ECGs, thoracic radiographs, Holter monitors, and the medical management of congenital and acquired cardiac disease. Interventional cardiology focuses on procedures to solve or at least palliate/alleviate clinical signs using minimally invasive methods. We obtain vascular access, much as they do on the human side, to catheterize the heart and the vessels of the body. I will often reference people that have heart attacks because diagnostic catheterization is an important diagnostic and therapeutic tool for that condition (people often personally or have had family/friends that have undergone cardiac catheterization). In that light, interventional cardiology is an approach that is more geared towards fixing the underlying condition or at least more directly palliating the condition compared to medical management. Interventionalists are somewhat akin to the surgeons of the cardiology world. In that analogy, the medical teams (i.e. medical cardiology team) perform an initial evaluation and diagnosis. The surgical team (in cardiology, the interventional team) goes in to try to fix it. Requisite to a veterinary cardiology residency training program is training in interventional cardiology, but not all veterinary cardiologists will pursue interventional cardiology following residency.
We do three main procedures: pacemaker implantation for bradycardic rhythms, balloon valvuloplasty for congenital stenoses, and ductal occlusion of PDAs. These are all done minimally invasively. We also do other procedures, such as heartworm extractions, diagnostic catheterizations, septostomies, balloon dilations, occlusion of fistulas or abnormal vascular connections, etc. It is my most sincere hope also to start performing mitral valve clamping procedures, as this procedure is a minimally invasive technique to treat the most common heart condition we see – chronic degenerative valve disease.
- Heartworm extraction
- Pacemaker implantation
- Balloon valvuloplasty (pulmonary stenosis, (sub) aortic stenosis)
- Patent ductus arteriosus occlusion
- Stent valvuloplasty (pulmonary valve dysplasia)
- Vascular stent implantation
- Pulmonary or systemic vascular anomalies
- Diagnostic cardiac catheterizations
- Atrial decompression