Interventional Cardiology

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Interventional cardiology at Aurora Health Care has world renowned experts who specialize in the treatment of various cardiac diseases including: coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, peripheral vascular disease, adult congenital disorders, cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Aurora has 8 hospitals with catheterization labs that perform diagnostic testing and most of our sites perform non-surgical interventions to treat heart disease. Our catheterization labs offer state of the art technology in our interventional suites that include 3D echocardiography imaging, fractional flow reserve (FFR) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to assist in guiding the physician for optimal outcomes of these procedures.

Hybrid Catheterization Labs

Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center has hybrid catheterization labs. The cardiac Hybrid OR brings together the best of cardiology and the best of cardiac surgery by providing a diagnostic and operative environment with the most advanced imaging technology.

The Hybrid OR enables the highest levels of quality control and houses state of the art equipment to guide the interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists, and perfusionists in these innovative procedures. Cutting-edge X-ray and 3-D imaging devices allow the clinical team to provide the highest quality care by allowing them to view the structures and repairs inside the body in near real-time so that they can evaluate the procedure and begin more advanced operations immediately, if necessary.

Transradial Catheterization

Cardiologists perform cardiac catheterizations (Caths) to evaluate blood flow to the heart and the heart's pumping ability.  Caths can also be used for angioplasty to open blocked arteries and to place stents to keep arteries open, especially in emergency situations like a heart attack.

To perform a Cath, a cardiologist inserts a thin tube into an artery and then feeds the tube through the body's circulatory system to reach the heart.  A puncture is made in either the groin to access the femoral artery, or the wrist to access the radial artery.  The latter procedure is called a transradial catheterization, and it offers significant benefits to patients.  These include:

  • Lower risk of bleeding at the incision site

  • Less pain - Femoral Cath patients must endure manual compression at the incision site to avoid bleeding.  This can be for many hours in duration. Transradial Cath patients wear a simple wrist compression device.

  • Patient can move almost immediately after the procedure - A femoral procedure requires patients to lie flat for hours.  Transradial patients do not have to lie flat and can move around, walk to the bathroom, etc. soon after the procedure.

  • Lower cost per case to both patients and insurance companies.

Today, only approximately 5 percent of U.S. cardiologists use the transradial technique, but that percentage is increasing.  Dr. David Mathias, a cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Medical Center, is one of the first cardiologists in the nation to use the technique routinely.  He and his colleagues, Dr. William Witmer, Dr. Sarah Fenton, and Dr. Scott Weslow, all routinely perform transradial artery catheterizations and interventions. Over 50 % of the procedures done at ABMC are done transradially. This not only helps patients with comfort after their procedure but is proven in some cases to improve survival (STEMI).

Are you a candidate for transradial catheterization?

Most Cath patients qualify for a transradial procedure.  One test used to determine if a patient is a candidate for a transradial Cath is called an Allen's test.  The cardiologist compresses or occludes the ulnar artery for a few minutes and then compares the color of the patient's two hands. The cardiologist then compresses the patient's radial artery for a few minutes and does the comparison again.  The test shows the doctor how well the blood circulates through the ulnar and radial arteries to help ensure they are healthy and clear for the procedure.

Interventional Cardiology Services

There are a wide range of services offered through the interventional cardiology department. Aurora St. Luke's hospital in Milwaukee performs all of the procedures listed below, while services may vary at other locations.

  • Alcohol septal ablation
  • Atrial septal defect closure
  • Cardiac assist devices
  • Carotid stent
  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Coronary atherectomy
  • Coronary Stent
  • Endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm graft
  • Endovascular thoracic aortic aneurysm graft
  • Heart Catheterization (right and left heart)
  • Hypothermia
  • Inta-aortic balloon pump
  • Myocardial biopsy
  • Patent foramen ovale closure
  • Peripheral angioplasty
  • Peripheral stent
  • Transcatheter valve (Core and Sapien Valves)
  • Transcatheter valve repair (mitraclip)

Why Choose Aurora for Interventional Cardiology

Aurora Health Care performs over 3,200 coronary angioplasty procedures every year. We participate in the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Project for  eastern Wisconsin to improve the care of the heart attack victims. Our quality of care and excellence of our outcomes are well known in the medical community.  About one quarter of our patients are referred to us by other physicians at other facilities. We are leaders in clinical trials to study new techniques and catheter based devices to serve our communities.

Aurora is committed to providing the best state of the art tecnhology and high quality outcomes in the care and management of heart disease. Our interventional cardiology physicians are experienced at performing a wide range of procedures to provide the best care for each individual patient.


The following Aurora sites have catheterization labs: