Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

The Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) at Heart Hospital of Lafayette (HHL) offers a full range of services and procedures for cardiac patients including interventional cardiac and peripheral vascular procedures, angiograms, catheterization, stents, valvuloplasty and more.

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Cardiac Catheterization

The cardiac catheterization procedure is used to detect blockages or narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart by inserting a catheter into the large artery in the groin, wrist or elbow and advancing the catheter using fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, to access the arteries of the heart. Primarily caused by atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of plaque in the artery due to atherosclerosis, arterial blockages increase a patient's risk of heart attack, which can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle. In a heart attack emergency, most patients will undergo cardiac catheterization to open blocked arteries. Other patients may have cardiac catheterization after a positive stress test or PET scan. This procedure is also used to assess the strength of the heart's pumping chamber and measure pressures within the heart and the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)

Many arterial blockages can be opened using balloons and stents. This can be done emergently during a heart attack, or electively in the case of a positive stress test. In the percutaneous coronary intervention procedure, the physician advances a wire across the blockage, often referred to as a "lesion," then opens it using tiny balloons and/or stents—tiny metal mesh tubes that are left in the artery to keep it open.

Peripheral Angiograms

The peripheral angiogram is used to assess blockages in patients with symptoms of decreased blood flow to the arteries of the lower extremities. Similar to a cardiac catheterization, the physician usually accesses these arteries through the groin just as with a cardiac catheterization except the catheter is advanced toward the lower extremities. Blockages to the arteries supplying blood to the lower extremities can also be treated using balloons and stents.

Cerebral Angiogram

The cerebral angiogram is used to assess the flow of blood to the brain and determine blockages in carotid arteries. Patients with this type of blockage are at risk for stroke; surgery is generally required to remove this blockage.

Other procedures performed in the Cath Lab

  • Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) closure
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty
  • Carotid Stenting
  • Percutaneous Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD)
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