Cardiac Cath Lab
Advanced imaging technology in the cath lab is used to check blood flow to and from the heart. This information helps the care team diagnose and treat blockages and other problems in the arteries often without patients needing to undergo surgery.
The care team within the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) at Huntsville Memorial Hospital includes board-certified interventional cardiologists, nurses, and radiology technicians with training in a variety of diagnostic and interventional cardiac procedures.
The cardiac catheterization procedure itself involves threading a long, thin tube, called a catheter, through an artery or vein in the leg or arm and into the heart. Sometimes a cardiac catheterization is performed due to an emergency such as a heart attack in progress. Other times, a cardiac catheterization, also known as an angiogram, is performed as a diagnostic tool to check for blockages if your physician suspects you may have coronary artery disease.
A special catheter with a small angioplasty balloon attached at the end is threaded to the area of the artery that has become blocked with plaque. The balloon is inflated to compress the plaque and open the artery to increase blood flow.
A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that is delivered through a catheter to the site of a blocked artery. It is used along with balloon angioplasty and then permanently embedded within the artery. A stent props an artery open to prevent it from collapsing or becoming re-blocked with plaque. Depending on the number of blockages, more than one stent may be used.
During a rotoblation procedure, a special catheter, with an acorn-shaped diamond-coated tip, is guided to the blocked portion of the artery. The tip spins to grind away plaque on the artery walls and narrowed your artery.
Pacemaker procedures also take place in the cardiac cath lab. This small device is powered by a battery and helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. Pacemakers are needed for those who have a slow and irregular heart rhythm. The pacemaker is implanted under the skin and fatty tissue near the collarbone with leads that attach to the heart. When the heart rate is too slow, it sends an impulse to the heart to help beat in a regular rhythm.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Treatment
Treatment for vascular diseases such as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is also provided in the cath lab. These procedures open blocked blood vessels in the legs. Balloon angioplasty and stenting are now the primary treatment for PAD.
After Your Catheterization
Plan to rest for a few days after your cardiac catheterization. Avoid heavy lifting, and stick to light activities for a few days. You may have a small bruise or bump under the skin at the insertion site. This should go away within a few weeks.
When to Call Your Doctor
Be sure to call your doctor if:
- The insertion site bleeds
- You feel chest pain or discomfort
- Your arm or leg feels numb or cold
- The bruising or swelling gets worse or increases
- You have a fever
- Signs of infection appear at the insertion site
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VISIT HMH CLINICS
HMH has four specialty health clinics to meet the needs of our community. Capabilites include primary care, surgery, orthopedics and dialysis.
110 Memorial Hospital Dr.
Huntsville, TX 77340
Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm