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Diagnostic Cardiology: February 8, 2014

When it comes to matters of the heart, diagnosing the problem is half the battle. That’s where interventional cardiology plays a role.

“Invasive just means that you will do procedures that require needles or actually intervening inside the body,” says Dr. Robert Cross, cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

The diagnostic field is benefitting from technology- devices are now smaller than ever before. And working with them means less trauma to the patient. Looking for blocked arteries is often performed through cardiac catheterization, for decades doctors threaded a catheter through the groin to take a look- now many are gaining access through a small artery in the wrist.

“The reason this is nice, it is actually comfortable for the patient. They’re able to get up, if they have a bad back they’re able to get up and sit in a chair as soon as the procedure is done. There’s less bleeding, less complications,” says Dr. Cross. 

Another diagnostic tool is the insertable loop recorder, which may define the origins of a stroke, in particular in young to middle aged patients with no known cause.

“It is actually cellular technology it goes under the skin and monitors the heart rhythm and then if you find out someone does have a-fib it makes a big difference in treatment,” says Dr. Cross.

Reading the warning signs is another key function-teaching people to control their risk factors and prevent a first event.

“We can control blood pressure, control cholesterol, control diabetes- try to convince them to try to quit smoking so that we don’t get cardiovascular disease later,” says Dr. Cross.

The new norm in cardiology- is to find and fix problems before they become heart breaking.