The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin heart and vascular team provides a complete range of specialized programs to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. Interventional cardiologists are part of this experienced team, using the latest technologies and techniques to offer effective, evidence-based treatments.
Jorge Saucedo, MD, MBA, interventional cardiologist and MCW faculty member, explains interventional cardiology and how this highly specialized service benefits patients.
What is interventional cardiology?
Interventional cardiology centers on treating cardiovascular diseases, such as blocked arteries, by using catheter-based techniques. Essentially, interventional cardiologists are the plumbers of the heart.
What type of procedures do interventional cardiologists do?
The most common procedures are balloon angioplasties, in which we use a balloon to open a blocked artery and then install a stent to keep it open. We also fix malfunctioning heart valves, like mitral and aortic valves, which tend to leak or narrow as we get older. To repair a leaky mitral valve, we can perform a MitraClip® procedure, where we use a catheter to install a tiny clip or two that keeps the valve leaflets closer together — picture a fish’s mouth opening and closing — so the valve does not leak as much. If an aortic valve narrows, we can perform a TAVR procedure, where balloons are used to open the valve and insert a new valve inside it.
What benefits do these procedures offer patients?
Because they are minimally invasive, they are suitable for patients who are at moderate to high risk for surgery. In addition, patients can go home faster — usually the day after the procedure — and patients generally recover faster and with fewer complications. People who are 80, 90 or even 100 years old can have these procedures done.
What makes the Froedtert & MCW interventional cardiology team unique?
The team includes interventional cardiologists with tremendous experience — many have been doing procedures for more than 30 years. That volume and experience results in better outcomes. We also participate in the latest clinical trials for structural heart disease, one of the fastest-evolving areas of cardiovascular research. For example, we research the newest valve technology, giving patients access to the most advanced treatments.