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Cardiac Catheterization

Our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory provides cardiology patients with access to the area’s most sophisticated equipment and technology for the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease and other conditions or diseases of the vascular system.

To evaluate the extent and location of cardiovascular disease, an invasive technique called cardiac catheterization is used. It involves passing thin plastic tubes, or catheters, through a main artery in the arm or leg to one or more major blood vessels in the heart (coronary arteries) or other vascular or cardiac structures. The technique allows our invasive cardiology specialists to measure pressures, inject contrast dye, and take x-ray pictures of blood vessels and cardiac structures for precise, immediate diagnostic information. Often, the information indicates how best to correct the problem—with surgery, medications or other interventional cardiac procedures.

In our Cath Lab we perform the latest interventional procedures to open blocked arteries and re-establish blood flow to the heart. These procedures are all performed using cardiac catheterization techniques and include angioplasty, rotational and directional atherectomy, closure of atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale, septal ablation of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, valvuloplasty and stent placement. Stents, which are tiny, spring-like devices, are the most recent advancement in propping open blocked arteries for an extended period of time, often permanently.

The Cath Lab is open around the clock to serve both scheduled and emergency patients. This is particularly important for heart attack patients, as frequently they are best managed by quickly reopening the blocked artery that caused the event. Our Cath Lab staff works closely with our Emergency Department, as well as with surrounding hospitals, utilizing our Life Evac helicopter service when necessary to transport acute heart attack patients to the lab for prompt treatment.

The Pauley Heart Center Cath Lab is a regional leader in the evaluation and introduction of new, better treatments for patients who have coronary artery disease. We were the first in the area to have a dedicated Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, the first to perform coronary balloon angioplasty, and are local pioneers in laser angioplasty, rotational and directional atherectomy, and drug eluting stents. We are committed to continuing this tradition of innovation and are currently focusing on improving efficiency and safety of guidewire passage by the use of a magnetic guidance system for steering wires; using cath lab based CT to enhance assessment of blockages and cardiac function; and evaluating new drugs used as an adjunct treatment to coronary intervention.