Interventional cardiology gets to the heart of the matter

By Susan Aiello • Published: April 4th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Happy wags and purrs show us the love in a pet’s heart. But when that heart’s in trouble, a battery of tools can be used to look inside without breaking the skin.

X-rays outline the shape and position of the heart, and special dyes can highlight blood vessels and internal surfaces. Echocardiograms, C-T scans and M-R-Is provide cross-sectional and 3-D images, and even details of how blood flows through heart valves.

These tools provide a road map to guide minimally invasive procedures and avoid the need for surgery. Long catheters can be routed through large vessels to gain remote access to the heart, so that veterinary cardiologists can repair valves and vessels, and even install pacemakers.

Rather than opening the chest, this interventional cardiology allows a better, gentler way to get to the heart of the matter for some cardiac disorders.