Both conventional heart surgery and interventional heart surgery are umbrella terms used for various surgical procedures that aim at the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of a broad spectrum of cardiovascular problems which cannot be treated by non-invasive means. The past few decades have seen the evolution of invasive cardiology in India from conventional procedures to minimally invasive ones. While the latter has gained immense popularity since its advent, the former continues to be a reliable treatment option for many patients.
Both the procedures are invasive in nature, however, the degree of invasion varies tremendously. Let us now talk about both the procedures in detail to understand the difference between them.
Conventional heart surgeries-
These are carried out using the traditional open-heart technique which involves larger incisions to directly access the affected area. In some cases, the chest bones may also be removed temporarily to gain better access.
Since the doctors directly operate upon the heart, there is a need for using a heart-lung bypass machine to ensure that blood is being supplied to the rest of the body, throughout the surgery.
Some of the common conventional heart surgeries offered at all the best hospitals in Delhi are mentioned below:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG): It is the most common type of open-heart surgery that is performed to create a bypass route for the continuous flow of blood in patients whose coronary artery has been damaged or blocked. It can even be performed for 2 or more arteries simultaneously.
- Heart valve repair or replacement: It involves the removal and replacement of an unhealthy or diseased valve with a new prosthetic valve by directly accessing the former.
- Insertion of a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): The former is implanted to restore normal heartbeats in patients suffering from arrhythmia whereas the latter is used to detect dangerous irregularities in the heart rhythm.
- Heart Transplant: As the name suggests, it involves the replacement of a dysfunctional heart with a healthy one, taken from a deceased donor.
- Aneurysm repair: It involves the replacement of a weak or damaged section of the arteries or heart wall with a graft to treat aneurysms.
- Ventricular assist device (VAD) placement:It involves the surgical placement of a pump in the heart which assists the heart in carrying out its functions.
Interventional heart surgeries-
It is the branch of cardiology that offers minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of various structural and functional heart diseases. These are offered at all the best heart hospitals in Delhi.
A catheter is a small flexible tube made from medical grade materials that can be easily inserted inside the patient’s body via tiny keyhole incisions. The catheter is then directed towards the affected area with the help of live images generated by a small camera. This helps to give a better view of the internal structures and negates the risk of any complications.
Since the procedures are minimally invasive, these involve reduced blood loss, minimal or no scarring, shorter convalescence period and reduced post-operative discomfort and pain.
Some of the most common interventional cardiology procedures include the following:
- Angioplasty– The procedure is performed to restore normal blood flow in the arteries by opening the blockage. This not only helps to relieve the symptoms but also minimizes the damage to the heart muscles.
- Valvuloplasty– Also known as balloon valvotomy, it is performed to treat blocked or stenotic aortic valve by using a catheter fixed with a balloon on one of its ends.
- TAVI/TAVR– Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation/Replacement is a catheter-based procedure, performed to replace a stenotic aortic valve with a new prosthetic component.
- Coronary thrombectomy– The procedure is performed on patients suffering from chronic coronary artery disease who have an increased tendency of clot formation. Thrombectomy is performed to remove these clots which in turn helps to minimize the risks of heart attack or any such major problem.
- Atherectomy– It is an endovascular surgery, performed to remove atherosclerosis from the blood vessels so as to restore the normal flow of blood.