NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Team
Medical advances have changed how many health conditions are treated. With heart disease, bypass surgery was the standard, but more recently angioplasty has proven effective for certain people.
“Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that can be used to open blocked heart arteries,” explains Dr. Mark Apfelbaum, Director of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville. “It’s used in a wide spectrum of situations—ranging from stable patients with angina or an abnormal stress test, to someone having a massive heart attack.”
Today, almost all coronary angioplasty involves inserting one or more stents, tube-shaped devices in the coronary arteries to keep them open. “The latest types of stents are drug coated, and are more effective than balloons or other devices,” notes Dr. Apfelbaum. “They achieve overall better results with a much lower incidence of blockage recurring over time.”
Heart patients at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence benefit from receiving a high level of cardiac care at the Cath Lab. Staffed by physicians from ColumbiaDoctors, the Lab performs emergency and elective angioplasty, as well as minimally invasive procedures to visualize the arteries of the heart, check blood flow and pressure, and evaluate heart valve efficiency. Patients requiring more advanced cardiac care have access to specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, thereby ensuring a seamless continuity of care.
Dr. Mark Apfelbaum, Director
Before an angioplasty, the doctor will review the patient’s medical history, perform a physical exam, and do a coronary angiogram to reveal the extent of the blockage. “This test determines if the patient’s blockages can be treated with angioplasty or if something more invasive is required,” says Dr. Apfelbaum. “If angioplasty proves to be an appropriate treatment, it might be done immediately after the angiogram while the patient’s heart is still catheterized.”
There are very few contraindications for angioplasty. While angioplasty is less invasive than bypass surgery, certain risks to be aware of include a re-narrowing of the artery, bleeding, and blood clots. Medications are typically used to prevent blood clots from forming.
“Coronary artery disease is a chronic disorder,” says Dr. Apfelbaum. “If you’ve had a successful angioplasty, that doesn’t preclude you from developing other blockages in the future, which is why careful follow-up with a cardiologist, taking your medications reliably, eating well, and exercising are all vitally important.”
He cautions everyone: “Take any chest pains seriously and seek prompt medical advice as chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack. Any delay can prove fatal. Lastly, be vigilant about aggressively treating your risk factors for coronary artery disease—such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.”
NewYork-Presbyterian has the #1 rated heart program in New York, according to U.S. News & World Report.
For more information, visit nyp.org/lawrence or call (914) 787-5000 to find a cardiologist.
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