Cardiac Cath and Peripheral Laboratories

The cardiology team uses the Cardiac Cath Lab to provide cardiac diagnosis and treatment for adult and geriatric patients. The Cath Lab provides its patients with both diagnostic and interventional services.

  • Cardiac Catherization (angiography) — An X-ray examination of the blood vessels & chambers of the heart by inserting a small tube, or catheter, into an artery in the groin, the cardiologist can then inject a small amount of dye into the coronary artery to assess the blood flow to the heart.
  • Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) — This involves insertion of a balloon into the site of a blockage by use of a catheter. The balloon is then inflated, pushing the blockage out of the way towards the artery wall. After this is complete, the balloon will be deflated and removed from the artery.
  • Stent Placement — Stents are similar to a PTCA except that the balloon will have a wire mesh attached to it, which will stay in place on the inner artery walls after the procedure. The stent will hold the blocked area open to allow the blood to flow once again. The newest models of stents contain a coating which delivers medication directly to the blockage, thus reducing the chance of the blockage returning in that same area.
  • Peripheral Angiography— An examination of the arteries or veins of the body to check for blockages or other abnormalities. This examination is frequently done on the arteries and veins of the head, neck, arms, abdomen, and legs. If blockages are found they may be treated similarly to the heart by balloon angioplasty and stent placement.
  • Electrophysiology / Ablation A study of the electrical currents and pathways of the heart. These currents keep the heart beating in a normal and healthy rhythm. If an abnormal pathway is found then an ablation is performed which will correct the rhythm of the heart. The same cutting edge technology used for this heart procedure can also be used in the skilled hands of specialized interventional radiologists to diagnose and treat painful conditions of the back and spine.
  • Permanent Pacemaker / AICD — A procedure in which electrodes are threaded into the chambers of the heart by access through a vein in the shoulder. These electrodes are then connected to a small device called the generator which houses the battery and electronics needed to perform its functions. The generator is then placed under the skin through a small incision. An AICD is similar to a pacemaker yet it has the ability to shock the heart out of a deadly rhythm.

When a patient arrives for a procedure in the cath lab, they are admitted to our outpatient cardiovascular center (CVO), where a nurse will then perform a history and physical exam, as well as answer any questions about the procedure that a patient may have. Once the procedure is complete, the patient will recover in the CVO until they are ready to be discharged later that same day. In some instances the recovery may require an over night stay in the hospital.