Cardiac catheterizations are performed with the help of small thin tubes (catheters) which are placed into the vein and/or artery of the groin. There is no incision, cutting or stitching of the groin, leaving only a very small, almost invisible scar.
Diagnostic catheterizations are performed to evaluate the structure, blood flow and function of the heart in complete detail. Sometimes this information is necessary before and after surgery.
Therapeutic catheterization is utilized to open tight structures with balloon catheters. These include tight, narrow valves which do not open well and narrow blood vessels, also called valvuloplasties and angioplasties.
Certain holes within the heart, atrial septal defects (ASDs), which occur between the filling chambers, and ventricular septal defects (VSDs), which occur between the pumping chambers, can be closed with specific devices manufactured for this very purpose. Undesired vessels, such as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and collateral vessels can be occluded with devices. Some vessels need to be opened with a balloon and kept open by placing a stent, a metal scaffold tube.
One of the most exciting interventional developments is a non-surgical procedure that replaces heart valves using a catheter. Dr. Berdjis specializes in implanting Medtronic Melody valves to replace pulmonary valves, which are positioned between the right heart chambers and pulmonary artery.