The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (also known as the cardiac cath lab) is a specialized service providing diagnostic and interventional cardiology procedures used in the treatment of coronary artery and peripheral vascular disease. Each year, approximately 3,000 procedures are performed in the cardiac cath lab including diagnostic heart catheterization, balloon angioplasty and stent placement (including cardiac, carotid and peripheral stenting).
The lab consists of four state-of-the-art procedure rooms that house the most advanced technology including bi-plane flat panel imaging, which allows for more images with less contrast dye usage, and magnetic catheterization. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is the first hospital in Georgia, and still one of only a handful of programs in the Southeast, with magnetic catheterization technology, a catheter navigation system designed to assist physicians performing interventional procedures with more precision and control, especially in difficult to reach areas of the heart.
The cardiac cath lab is located on the NGMC Main Campus, on the 4th floor of the Outpatient Services Building. The cardiac cath lab serves not only Hall County, but also 15 other counties in the regional service area, and provides 24-hour, 7-day a week coverage for interventional cardiac care.
In addition to advanced heart disease diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disease, NGMC also participates in cardiac research trials, providing patients access to the very latest treatment options while participating in important studies that will improve future treatment of cardiac disease. Many of the studies are conducted in conjunction with other leading institutions such as New York University (NYU) Medical Center, the Mayo Clinic and the Medical College of Virginia.
Diagnostic and treatment procedures performed in the NGMC Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Diagnostic procedure completed by gently inserting a catheter into the blood vessels that feed the heart. Several injections of x-ray dye are made into the arteries allowing doctors to see heart blockages. Pressure measurements also are taken inside the heart to further evaluate the heart chambers and valves.
Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty:
Also known as PTCI or balloon angioplasty, this interventional procedure involves inserting a balloon-tipped catheter into a blocked heart artery. The balloon is then inflated and deflated to compress the blockage of plaque and increase the blood flow.
A stent is a small metal coil, or mesh tube, that may be placed in the artery to help keep it from reclosing by providing a scaffolding-like support. A stent is commonly used in conjunction with a balloon angioplasty and athrectomies.
Technique used to remove plaque from a blocked heart artery. These procedures can be completed using several different state-of-the-art methods that the cath lab has readily available.
Procedure that involves the implantation of an electronic device that helps the heart maintain regular beats.
Device which utilizes sound waves to assist in the evaluation of the heart arteries. A small catheter is placed inside the artery, and pictures are taken from within to better define the blockages.
Procedure similar to balloon angioplasty of the heart arteries. The difference is that a larger balloon is used to expand a constricted valve, leading to increased blood flow through the heart.
Procedure which examines arteries of the body, i.e. arteries in the leg, for diagnosis and treatment, helping increase the blood flow where needed. Balloons and stents are often used in other arteries outside the heart, including the legs, kidneys and carotid arteries.
Cardiac cath lab procedures require a physician referral and are performed by a cardiologist following an evaluation.
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