The Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute offers a comprehensive set of surgical and nonsurgical diagnostic tests and treatments for vascular conditions. Treatments range from peripheral angioplasty to surgical bypass and more.
Vascular ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to image blood vessels including arteries and veins. This is usually performed if a clot in the vein is suspected. Vascular ultrasounds can be performed to study arteries and veins throughout the body.
Ultrasounds are also used for vein mapping. Patients often have a vein mapping procedure completed before a coronary artery bypass grafting procedure. Vein mapping allows physicians to identify veins that could be used as a replacement for a blocked artery in your heart.
Angioplasty & Stenting
Atherosclerotic plaques narrow the arteries and decrease blood flow to the heart, arms, and legs. Peripheral Vascular Disease occurs when blood flow is restricted, to the arms or legs. Angioplasty is often required to restore blood flow to the area.
The most common form of angioplasty is known as balloon angioplasty. In this procedure, a thin tube or catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin. A tiny balloon passes through the catheter and is guided to the restricted or narrowed area(s). The balloon is then expanded until the atherosclerotic plaque is pressed against the artery wall, thus stretching open the formerly restricted artery.
A stent often follows angioplasty because it structurally supports the narrowed part of the artery. A stent is a mesh-like cylinder that can be placed in the artery to support the artery and increase blood flow. Our interventional cardiologists at The Heart & Vascular Institute often place drug-eluting stents, meaning that these stents used may reduce the potential for the artery to become narrowed again.
A stent comes in various sizes, allowing correct placement in the artery. The stent remains in the artery and is not removed. Recuperation from angioplasty occurs generally in a relatively short period since only local anesthesia and mild sedation is used for the procedure. Although many patients spend one night in the hospital, they are able to return to their normal activity in a day or two.
This procedure is performed to open up the carotid artery (the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain) that is narrowed, hardened or blocked by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis), and to structurally support that opening by permanently placing a metal stent within the artery.
A stent is a mesh-like metal cylinder. As in angioplasty, a catheter is inserted into the groin or arm. The catheter is advanced to the carotid artery, a series of X-ray pictures are taken to clearly visualize the portion that is narrowed, and a balloon-tipped catheter is advanced into the narrowed artery. Inside the artery, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times, compressing the plaque against the artery wall and widening the artery so blood flow improves. This balloon-tipped catheter is removed, and a separate balloon-tipped catheter with a stent attached is advanced to the area. The balloon is inflated, expanding the stent into the inner layer of the artery. The stent stays in place, acting as support to keep the artery open.
Endovascular Surgery or Repair
Endovascular surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery used to treat problems affecting the blood vessels, such as an aneurysm. An endovascular graft, which is a special fabric tube device framed with stainless steel self-expanding stents, is inserted through the arteries in a catheter, a long, narrow flexible tube, and positioned inside the aorta. Once in place, the graft expands and seals off the aneurysm, preventing blood from flowing into the aneurysm. The graft remains in the aorta permanently. An alternative to open surgery, endovascular surgery offers many advantages, including a shorter recovery period, less discomfort, local or regional anesthesia instead of general anesthesia, smaller incisions, less stress on the heart and fewer risks for patients with other medical conditions.
Endoscopic Vein Harvesting
Endoscopic vein harvesting is a surgical technique that is used in conjunction with coronary artery bypass surgery. The procedure involves removing a vein from another part of the body, most often the leg or arm. This vein is used to reroute the blood around the blocked arteries to restore blood flow and oxygen to the heart.