Nonsurgical Cardiovascular Treatments

Pioneers in Nonsurgical Heart Care

We’re proud to be at the forefront of heart care in San Antonio. Highly trained cardiologists collaborate at University Health System’s Heart and Vascular Institute to treat heart conditions in adults and children. Our cardiothoracic surgeons constantly learn and even pioneer new heart care treatments, particularly less invasive and nonsurgical procedures.

We bring innovative nonsurgical treatments such as, the transcatheter pulmonary valve procedure, that offers an alternative to repeated open heart surgeries for kids and adults with congenital heart defects.

Additionally, we pursue cutting-edge treatments and technology to ensure that we continually provide the best treatments possible for our patients.

Partners in Pediatric Cardiology

Pediatric heart specialists work together with physicians and surgeons at UT Health San Antonio at the Pediatric Heart Center. Our expertise means your child has access to the most advanced heart care in the region.

Most Advanced Options Available in South Texas

Cardiovascular nonsurgical treatments are used to restore and improve blood flow to your heart. In some cases, these advanced procedures may even replace more invasive open-heart surgeries.


We use a number of ablation procedures to correct problems with your heart’s rhythm.

Alcohol Ablation

We use this procedure to treat irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Your doctor inserts a catheter into the heart so a special machine can deliver energy directly to tiny areas of the heart. This energy “disconnects” the pathway of the abnormal heart rhythm. Ablation can re-establish a normal heart rhythm and help control your heart rate, as well as reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.

Flutter Ablation

This procedure locates and cuts off the abnormal electrical pathway in your heart that causes your atrial fibrillation – or the quiver – in your heart’s rhythm and often produces blood clots.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This technique cuts through the abnormal electrical pathways in your heart by using “heat” transferred through the tip of a specialized catheter. The catheter is guided by either X-ray imaging or 3-D mapping.

Aortic, Pulmonic & Mitral Balloon Valvuloplasty

During this procedure, a small balloon is inserted and inflated to stretch and open a narrowed heart valve. This eases the flow of blood through the valve. Although a valvuloplasty is sometimes necessary before heart surgery, in some patients it’s a long-term solution.


Directional and rotational atherectomy are procedures used to remove the blockage (plaque) responsible for narrowing in your artery.

Directional Atherectomy

Our specialists use a catheter equipped with a tiny blade to remove plaque from your blocked artery. A special collection chamber on the catheter captures the plaque, and is then removed along with the device.

Rotational Atherectomy

Instead of a blade, we use a catheter with a diamond-coated tip to grind away the plaque on your artery walls. The small particles wash away safely in your bloodstream, and your liver and spleen filter them out.

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) & Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) Closure

During this corrective procedure, your doctor will insert a device in the “hole” in the walls between the different chambers of your heart where blood escapes instead of flowing along its normal route. The closure device is delivered through a small hole in your groin by a catheter.

Coronary Angioplasty, Balloon Angioplasty or Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

This single procedure with several names is used to open narrowed arteries. We use a catheter with a small balloon on its tip to flatten, or compress, the plaque against the artery wall. In many cases, our specialists perform balloon angioplasty in combination with coronary stenting or a stent placement procedure.

Coronary Stenting or Stent Placement

Your doctor places a small mesh, metal tube (stent) inside your artery. It supports the artery to keep it open and improve blood flow to your heart. It also reduces chest pain (angina). The stent is placed after we clear your artery of blockage (coronary angioplasty). It then becomes a permanent part of your artery.

Heart Implants

Under certain conditions, your heart condition may respond best to one of several devices we implant for long-term treatment.

Bi-Ventricular Resynchronization Implantation

We implant pace leads into both pumping chambers of your heart to “re-synchronize” or “retime” it, so both chambers pump at the same time. This helps move blood through the heart more efficiently and deliver blood to your organs.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

This device sends an electric current through your heart. It’s used to regulate an abnormally fast heart rate that causes you to faint or your heart to pump improperly. When medicines don’t work, an ICD can be implanted under the skin.

Interventional Cardiac Catheterization

This treatment opens narrowed coronary arteries to improve blood flow to your heart. We can perform it during a diagnostic cardiac catheterization if we identify a blockage. It can also be done after testing has confirmed you have coronary artery disease. With the catheter in place, your specialist will use one of the interventional procedures described, such as coronary angioplasty, coronary stenting or coronary atherectomy.

LARIAT® Procedure

The LARIAT® procedure is performed under general anesthesia. We insert one catheter under the patient’s rib cage and use another to guide it into place within the heart's left atrial appendage.

Once in place, the LARIAT® Suture Delivery Device tightens a loop around the base of the left atrial appendage (LAA). The loop stitch permanently seals off this tiny cavity from the rest of the heart to block blood clots from traveling to the brain. Over time, the tied-off appendage turns into scar tissue.

Mitral Valve Clipping

This is the latest available technology used to correct, or reduce, a severe “leaking” mitral valve. A “clip,” like a staple, fuses two sections of the mitral valve to reduce the valve opening. This allows your blood to flow through the left atrium to the left ventricle. You can have this procedure without an open-chest surgical procedure.

Rheolytic Thrombectomy

A special pump delivers saline through a catheter at high pressure to remove a clot in the artery. The pump creates a vacuum and breaks the clot into pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out of the artery. We use this procedure when we need to remove many clots from your heart.