Diagnostic activities and interventions
In addition to traditional and digital angiography, the latest procedures for the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases are performed in the Unit’s cardiac catheterisation laboratories. The most up-to-date technologies, such as computerised quantitative angiography, intravascular ultrasonography and intracoronary Doppler flow measurements, are used.
The medical team of the four operating suites, made up of 11 cardiologists, has extensive experience in the interventional treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The therapeutic modalities for the non-surgical treatment of atherosclerotic disorders of coronary and peripheral vessels, congenital heart diseases in the adult, and acquired pathologies of the heart valves can be summarised as follows:
- Coronary or peripheral angioplasty with stent placement,
- Rotational coronary atherectomy,
- Closure of intracardiac shunts (atrial septal defect, foramen ovale, patent ductus arteriosus) by percutaneous implantation of occlusive devices,
- Obliteration of both thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms and aneurysms of other peripheral arteries (subclavian, iliac, popliteal) by percutaneous endograft implantation,
- Pulmonary and mitral valve repair and percutaneous implantation of prosthetic aortic valves,
- Obliteration of the left atrial appendage for prevention of cardiogenic embolisation in patients with atrial fibrillation,
- Alcoholic ablation of the interventricular septum in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
- Implantation of caval filter systems for the prevention of pulmonary embolism.
Among these activities, coronary angioplasty in high-risk patients and those who have had an acute myocardial infarction is of particular importance. The interventional cardiologists of the Monzino Cardiology Centre have, in fact, gained recognised experience in the use of cardio-circulatory support techniques, such as aortic counterpulsation and percutaneous cardiopulmonary bypass, during percutaneous myocardial revascularization procedures in patients with compromised cardiac function.
The Unit also offers prompt availability of medical, nursing and technical staff, 24 hours a day, for primary coronary angioplasty in patients who arrive at the Monzino Cardiology Centre with an acute myocardial infarction. This intervention is now considered the best means of minimising functional damage to the heart pump and decreasing mortality in patients with heart attacks.
The clinicians in the Interventional Cardiology Unit collaborate with the Cardiovascular Diseases Section of the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences, University of Milan, accepting the internal students of the Master's Degree in Medicine and Surgery and graduates specialising in Cardiology, providing the logistics, specific teaching in the discipline of interventional cardiology and the tutors necessary for training and preparation of theses for both undergraduates and junior specialists. The Unit’s cardiologists also teach in the Specialisation School. Finally, visiting clinicians from Italian and foreign institutes are regularly invited to the laboratories for educational and training purposes.
National and international scientific activities
The Unit’s doctors are involved every year in numerous national and international congresses for the purpose of updating and presenting the results of scientific research carried out within the Monzino Cardiology Centre and participate in various clinical research protocols, especially international randomised, multicentre trials.