Constrictions of the coronary vessels and of other arteries of the body (carotid arteries, vessels of the lower extremities, etc.) are very common conditions which can affect a large number of people. There are various causes, such as a genetic tendency, which cannot always be controlled themselves. Other factors, however, such as high cholesterol and blood fat levels, diabetes, smoking, stress and high blood pressure, fall within the wide sphere of lifestyle factors. These can generally be addressed and positively changed with more extensive counselling. An examination of the coronary vessels is often necessary. This is also performed at Rudolfinerhaus in Vienna by means of a cardiac catheter examination. A contrast medium is injected via this catheter and thereby the coronary vessels can be displayed. By this means, the specialist cardiologist is very much better able to detect vascular constrictions or occlusions due to cholesterol crystals, calcification or even a blood clot (in a cardiac infarct). The good thing about a catheter treatment is that the doctor can also perform the treatment directly within the heart and can re-open blood vessels by means of balloon dilatation. In order for this dilatation to last, the Cardiology Department at Rudolfinerhaus in Vienna inserts a small metal support, a so-called stent. Under the excellent follow-up care at Rudolfiner House, the patients will have to take special medications in order to keep this freshly inserted stent open.

A particular plus of the Cardiology Department at Rudolfinerhaus in Vienna is that, as a pioneering innovation, the doctors at Rudolfinerhaus have performed the catheter access via a blood vessel in the wrist from the beginning. This has the great advantage that the patients have markedly fewer vascular and bleeding complications. On the other hand, this technique makes the procedure more convenient since there is no need for long hospital stays or bed rest.

Prim. Dr. Thomas A. Brunner

Deputy medical director and head of internal medicine