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Interventional Cardiology

New advances in heart care make it possible to diagnose, treat or help prevent many cardiovascular problems without surgery. We call these treatments interventional procedures (or cardiac catheterization procedures), and in many cases, they are just as effective as heart surgery — but with fewer risks. This means many people who are not good candidates for surgery still have lifesaving treatment options.

Our approach to care

If your doctor suspects you have a heart or vascular problem, cardiac catherization can help us confirm it. We diagnose common and complex conditions, including:

  • Aortic stenosis
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Carotid artery stenosis
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Chronic total occlusion (CTO)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Mitral valve leakage
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO)
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Expert heart attack treatment

Cardiac catherization can also save lives during a major heart attack.

Our team’s ability to treat the most serious heart attacks swiftly and successfully using interventional procedures ranks among the nation’s best. That’s because our average “door-to-balloon time” — the amount of time between a heart attack patient’s arrival in the emergency room and the moment their blocked artery is reopened — is 35 minutes. In comparison, the national average is 59 minutes.

In many cases, after we locate a heart problem, we also use cardiac catheterization to treat it. Interventional procedures can help:

  • Improve blood flow to your heart. We might use a rotating device to clear plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, or repair a faulty valve.
  • Reopen blocked blood vessels using special balloons or tiny tubes called stents. For example, we can open the carotid arteries (the main blood vessels that lead to the brain) to reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Repair a damaged heart valve, or replace it with an artificial one.
  • Repair structural problems caused by congenital heart disease.
  • Reduce pain and improve mobility by reopening blocked arteries in the legs.
  • Lower your risk of life-threatening conditions. When left untreated, clogged arteries, damaged valves and other problems can lead to heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

How cardiac catheterization works

Our interventional cardiologists can reach your heart by guiding catheters (hollow, flexible tubes) through your blood vessels. This process is often called cardiac catheterization.

With cardiac catheterization, we can find blocked arteries or other conditions without opening your chest. We can also fix heart problems by passing tiny tools or devices, such as balloons or stents, through the catheter.

Compared to traditional surgery, most people recover from an interventional procedure more quickly and with less pain. That’s because we don’t need to cut through skin, muscle or other tissue.

Depending on the type of procedure you have — and the reason you need it — you may be able to go home the same day or next day.

Additional tests and treatments

  • Atherectomy
  • Balloon angioplasty
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • CardioMEMS device placement
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting
  • Coronary angiogram
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Fractional flow reserve measurement
  • Impella heart pump implantation
  • Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement
  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Left atrial appendage closure
  • Mesenteric (intestinal) artery stenting
  • Percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty
  • Percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI)
  • Peripheral artery angiogram
  • Peripheral artery stenting
  • Radial artery catheterization
  • Renal (kidney) artery stenting
  • Right heart catheterization
  • Stent placement
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
  • Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR)
  • Venous angiogram

A team approach

Because Centra offers the full range of cardiovascular services, you have access to complete care — no matter what your condition. For example, if your interventional cardiologist diagnoses a problem that needs surgery, we have heart surgeons and vascular surgeons who can help.

Related Services


There are many types of arrhythmias, each requiring different levels of treatment. Our arrhythmia specialists (electrophysiologists) can confirm whether your symptoms are harmless or serious. We’ll also help you prevent complications such as stroke, heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.


We offer comprehensive cardiovascular evaluations to confirm or rule out heart problems. Depending on your diagnosis, we can continue to monitor your symptoms, prescribe medication or lifestyle changes, refer you to a specialist for more advanced treatments.

Valve & Structural Heart Disease Center

Conditions that affect your heart’s structure — such as aortic stenosis and mitral valve disease — are often referred to as structural heart disease.

Vein Care

If you’re tired of living with varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency, it may be time to see a vein specialist at the Centra Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Center.

Wound Care

Wound care experts at the Centra Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) manage and monitor all types of skin wounds, ulcers, sores and burns.

Weight Loss & Bariatric Surgery

The weight management experts at the Centra Heart & Vascular Institute have helped many patients transform their habits and health.

Congestive Heart Failure Center

For many people with heart failure, early diagnosis and proper treatment can slow its progression — preventing fatigue, weakness and breathing problems. In fact, when heart failure is optimally treated, we can often change the course of the disease and improve heart function.

Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation

If you’re recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery or heart failure, your doctor may recommend cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Our rehab specialists help you regain your health with personalized recommendations for exercise, healthy eating and lifestyle changes.

Where you can find us

We have a number of conveniently located facilities in your neighborhood. See all Locations

Meet our team

Centra's team of Caregivers is dedicated to providing the most advanced, personalized care.
Cardiac catheterization patient
"Knowing someone was there with me every step of the way [during emergency coronary artery stenting] made all the difference. I am just so thankful that our community can offer this level of care. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get great care."
— Keith Henshaw

Why choose Centra for interventional cardiology?

If you’re looking for expert heart care close to home, you’ll find experienced interventional cardiologists — and the latest treatments — throughout central Virginia. You and your loved ones can have confidence in our care because:

  • We’re a national leader in heart attack care. Our average door-to-balloon time of 38 minutes places us in the 98th percentile among U.S. hospitals. The American Heart Association recommends reopening the artery within 90 minutes. Fast door-to-balloon times help minimize heart damage and improve your chance of recovery.
  • We’re recognized for outstanding care. We’ve earned accreditations and certifications from independent organizations that rate the safety and quality of healthcare facilities. These include a Chest Pain Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology and a Disease-Specific Care Certification from the Joint Commission for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) care.
  • Our safety scores are among the nation’s best. When you have cardiac catheterization at Centra, you’re in capable hands. Our risk-adjusted mortality rate among patients undergoing interventional procedures is 1.8% (compared to the U.S. average of 2.03%). This places us in the 90th percentile nationwide.