Cardiac Catheterization

Catheters have changed the way heart disease is diagnosed and treated. What once required large incisions and long recovery time can now be accomplished with small incisions and tiny instruments that are used from inside the blood vessels. Patients get similar results with less pain and recovery time. Using state-of-the-art facilities at Stony Brook University Hospital and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, our highly skilled interventional cardiologists perform a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic catheter-based interventions.

What are Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Interventions?

Cardiac catheterization involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your leg or arm and guiding it to the arteries in your heart. Physicians can use catheterization to diagnose and treat many heart problems. Cardiac catheterization can also be used to diagnose heart valve or heart muscle problems. In addition, catheter-based procedures can treat blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart (coronary arteries) with balloons and/or stents. This technology can also be applied to other parts of the body, such as the arteries that provide blood to the brain (carotid arteries), to the kidneys or to the legs. They can also treat congenital heart disorders and valve problems.

One of the benefits of catheterization is that it is a minimally invasive procedure and typically an outpatient procedure. Unlike surgery, which typically requires large incisions, the catheter is inserted through a small nick in the groin area or the arm. This means you have less discomfort, heal faster, and get back to your life more quickly than with open surgery.


Our highly skilled physicians will work with you and your primary care physician to accurately diagnose your condition and determine the best course of treatment for you. Our services include:

  • Cardiac catheterization, a procedure that can be used as a diagnostic test to provide a detailed assessment of the performance of the heart, including its valves and the coronary arteries and to locate blockages/narrowings in your arteries. Cardiac catheterization can also be a procedure used to deliver certain treatments, such as as coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting.
  • Angioplasty, which uses a balloon-tipped catheter to clear blocked arteries
  • Stenting, during which the physician implants an expandable stainless steel metal coil in a narrowed vessel to keep it open. This procedure can be done in the arteries of the heart, the neck, the kidneys or the legs
  • Intravascular ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside structure and walls of your arteries
  • Laser angioplasty, which uses a laser-tipped catheter to vaporize blockages
  • Balloon valvuloplasty, a procedure where the physician will use a balloon to open a scarred valve that has narrowed and is blocking the flow of blood to other chambers of the heart or to the body
  • PFO/ASD closure, in which the interventional cardiologist uses two small umbrella-shaped "clamshell" devices to close an opening between the upper chambers of the heart that did not close after birth
  • Impella, a tiny device placed in the left ventricle of your heart. The device can pump up to 2.5 liters of blood per minute, which allows physicians to complete angioplasty in patients whose hearts cannot pump enough blood on their own to allow them to undergo the procedure.

The Stony Brook Difference

Stony Brook's Interventional Cardiology Service is a recognized leader in catheter-based diagnosis and treatment. During an acute coronary event such as a heart attack, a sudden blockage in one of the arteries of the heart impedes blood flow to the muscle of the heart, and every second counts. Physicians have come to rely on catheter-based procedures like angioplasty to quickly and effectively clear blockages and restore blood flow to the heart. Stony Brook's catheterization laboratories provide 24-hour support, seven days a week (24/7), for patients who need emergency catheterization. Using our "Code H" protocol, we have been able to produce a "door-to-perfusion" time (that is, the time from when an emergency angioplasty patient comes through our doors to the time the blocked artery is cleared) of 56 minutes, almost 45 minutes sooner than those specified in treatment guidelines.

Our Team

Our Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Interventions team is a highly skilled, award-winning group of specialists whose focus is getting you well. We work collaboratively with each other, your referring physician and — most importantly — you, to develop the best treatment plan tailored to your needs. We stress a continuum of care as well as care coordination with your cardiologist and primary care physician. Our team offers decades of training and experience, insight from cutting-edge research, state-of-the-art facilities and a patient-focused environment to provide you with superior outcomes and a positive patient experience.

Our Interventional Cardiologists:

Stony Brook

Robert T. Pyo, MD, FACS, FSCAI, Director, Interventional Cardiology and Medical Director, Structural Heart Program, Stony Brook Medicine
Ahmad Alkhalil, MD, Director, Percutaneous Mitral and Tricuspid Interventions and Catheterization Lab Director, Northport VA Medical Center
Travis Bench, MD, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Services, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital
On Chen, MD, Director, Center for Advanced Lipid (Cholesterol) Management; Director, Outpatient Services; Medical Director, Cardiac Care Unit; and Director, Cardiogenic Shock Program 
William E. Lawson, MD, Director, Preventive Cardiology
Puja Parikh, MD, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI, Director, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Program
John P. Reilly, MD, Chief of Cardiology, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Center Moriches and Southampton

Travis Bench, MD, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Services, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital
John P. Reilly, MD, Chief of Cardiology, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital
Scott McGlynn, MD


Put Your Heart Health First

If you are at risk or if someone in your family has a heart condition, it’s important to schedule a visit with a cardiologist for preventive care. Our cardiologists can help you improve your heart health and/or prevent the progression of cardiovascular disease with a comprehensive heart disease risk assessment and treatment options.

Do something good for your own heart health by taking a free heart health assessment now.

For information and appointments

Call (631) 44-HEART (444-3278)