Interventional Cardiology Program

UW Health Heart and Vascular Care interventional cardiologists perform thousands of diagnostic and interventional procedures each year, offering the latest breakthroughs in coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and peripheral vascular disease interventions.
Interventional techniques involve the use of catheters to place life-saving devices in the heart and arteries. The techniques are less invasive than surgery and require shorter recuperation times.
Patients with advanced disease are offered unique therapies at UW, including:

Percutaneous Left Ventricular Support

UW Health Heart and Vascular Care performed Wisconsin's first FDA-approved TandemHeart percutaneous left ventricular assist device (LVAD) procedure in January 2004.
This small centrifugal pump can deliver 3.5 to 4.0 liters per minute of assisted cardiac output. Indications would include shock following heart attack, complications of balloon angioplasty and stenting, and left ventricular failure.
In situations when patients might be too ill to be transported, our team is able to travel to regional hospitals to implant the device locally prior to transfer to UW Hospital and Clinics.
High-Risk Coronary Intervention
In addition to in-hospital support by an excellent cardiovascular surgical program with extensive advanced surgical capability and experience, we have recently utilized the TandemHeart percutaneous LVAD to assist high-risk balloon angioplasty and stenting.
The LVAD can be removed in the cardiac catheterization lab and the patient is discharged the following day. Close collaboration with our heart failure/transplant cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons ensures appropriate patient selection, therapy, and optimal post-procedure care as well as transplant consideration.
Carotid Stenting
Using careful selection criteria and a team approach involving both interventional cardiology and vascular surgery, our program performed 38 carotid stent procedures in high-risk patients since 2003.
We continue to offer percutaneous carotid stenting for symptomatic or asymptomatic patients with severe carotid artery blockages who are felt to be at higher risk for surgical procedures. The procedure may also be appropriate for patients with severe heart or lung disease, difficult blockages, advanced age, previous history of neck surgery or radiation, and/or contra-lateral carotid artery blockage.
Percutaneous Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) 

Aortic and Mitral Valvuloplasty

Percutaneous mitral valvuloplasty is often the preferred technique to treat rheumatic mitral stenosis. Percutaneous aortic valvuloplasty is inferior in outcome to surgical aortic valve replacement, but it is an acceptable therapy as a "bridge" to surgical valve replacement in situations of significant but treatable diseases or low ejection fraction.


Limb Salvage


Avoidance of amputation has profound quality of life implications for chronically ill patients. Our limb salvage procedures are the result of a collaboration between vascular surgery and interventional cardiology at UW Hospital and Clinics, offering the complimentary skills and knowledge bases of the two specialties to this challenging clinical problem.


We offer balloon and laser angioplasty, the breaking down of blood clots by delivering a specific enzyme into the artery, surgical bypass when appropriate, as well as wound care.

Complex Adult Congenital Heart Disease Intervention


In addition to our ASD/PFO closure program, we offer one of the country's few collaborative adult congenital clinics. With our pediatric cardiology colleagues, we offer advanced percutaneous therapies to treat adult congenital heart disease, including pulmonary balloon valvuloplasty, pulmonary artery and vein stenting, and embolization of pulmonary arterio-venous malformations.