A hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, or cardiac cath lab as it’s commonly called, is where cardiac catheterization and other procedures are performed in an effort to diagnose and/or treat heart conditions. Cath lab teams are typically comprised of highly skilled and specially trained cardiologists, radiologists and registered nurses, and are outfitted with a variety of tools of the trade. Having a general understanding of a cardiac cath lab, a virtual peek inside, can often put a patient at ease.
A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that’s inserted into a patient’s artery (usually in the arm or groin), and guided through the body with the help of X-rays and/or other technologies.
A stent is a metal mesh tube used to help hold open an artery. During an angioplasty procedure, a stent may be closed down over a balloon catheter and guided to the site of a coronary blockage. The balloon is then inflated, opening the stent so that it can hold open the artery, helping to restore proper blood flow.
Computer Imaging/Tomography Equipment
This equipment is used to create images or scans of the heart. There’s usually a table on which the patient lies, and an X-ray machine that circles the body, capturing information that a computer then translates into an image. There will likely be intravascular ultrasound equipment, as well as monitors on which doctors can view a procedure’s progress, findings and results.
At first glance, a cardiac cath lab can appear overwhelming. However, once a patient becomes familiar with some of the equipment and supplies on hand, he or she is better able to understand what is involved in procedures commonly used to diagnose and/or treat coronary conditions.
At Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute, our cardiology team has extensive experience with cardiac catheterization to diagnose heart problems, and to treat heart conditions, including deadly STEMI heart attacks. To learn more about heart health, please contact us. Visit us online or call 1-800-446-6956 to get answers to your questions and free referrals to cardiologists in the Ft. Pierce and Treasure Coast area.