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Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Interventional Cardiology Procedures, Including Arrhythmia Treatments

For many patients suffering from heart disease, care begins in our Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Working closely with referring physicians, the Providence St. Peter’s Emergency Department and other dedicated Emergency Departments in our service area – skilled cardiologists and cardiac care teams offer the most effective treatments and superior results.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions.

During cardiac catheterization, a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the blood vessels through your wrist, neck or groin and threaded into your heart. Using the catheter, your doctor can do diagnostic tests and perform minimally invasive procedures to open restricted coronary arteries or treat certain forms of heart arrhythmia.

Cardiac Catheterization Treatments

Minimally invasive cardiology procedures include:

Thrombolysis involves the administration of drugs to dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow through a coronary artery. Catheters allow doctors to deliver the drugs directly to the affected area.

This procedure uses balloon dilation to open heart vessels affected by plaque build up. During angioplasty, a catheter delivers a tiny, temporary balloon to the clogged artery where it’s inflated, widening the affected vessels and restoring blood flow. Angioplasty is often combined with stent placement.

Stents are small wire-mesh tubes often used to keep arteries open following an angioplasty. At Providence St. Peter, our cardiologists use drug-eluting stents (DES) to help prevent re-clogging and reduce the need for additional procedures or surgeries.

Similar to angioplasty, this procedure is used to open blocked coronary arteries, but utilizes a rotating or cutting device to remove plaque. Atherectomy may be combined with angioplasty, or may be used to treat areas where angioplasty and stenting can’t be performed.

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)
During IVUS, a small ultrasound device is attached to the top of the catheter. This device uses high-frequency sound waves to produce cross-sectional images of the arteries. IVUS is typically used in combination with procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting, to provide physicians a more precise view of blocked vessels and stent placement.

Flow Wire
This procedure uses a wire device to accurately measure the blood flow and blood pressure of specific locations within the coronary arteries. Also referred to as Fractional Flow Reserve (or FFR), this measurement can help determine the overall significance of a blockage and the best options for treatment.

Treating Chronic Total Occlusions with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
PCI combines angioplasty and stent placement to clear complete blockages in coronary arteries. To help reduce the risks associated with major surgery, Providence offers PCI as an effective alternative to coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) for treating chronic total occlusions (CTO). Talk to your doctor to learn if this option is right for you.

Radial Access PCI
During radial access PCI, the catheter is inserted through the radial artery in your wrist to access your heart. This method is considered less-invasive and lower-risk than femoral artery access (via the groin) by reducing recovery time and minimizing the potential for bleeding complications and nerve damage at the entry site.

Based on your health history, blood flow in your radial artery, disease location or type of condition, your doctor will help you decide if you are a good candidate for radial access PCI.

Electrophysiology Lab for Heart Rhythm Treatment

The committed staff at the Electrophysiology Lab offers comprehensive care and a variety of minimally invasive procedures to treat patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, flutters and other heart arrhythmias.

Catheter Ablation
During treatment, a catheter delivers radio frequency energy to the area of the heart that’s causing abnormal rhythm. It’s then cauterized, destroying the small, problematic areas of the heart tissue, which stops the abnormal rhythm in most cases.

Intracardiac Echocardiogram (ICE)
While traditional echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to gather images of the heart from outside the chest wall – for more detailed and comprehensive images your physician may suggest ICE, which uses ultrasound waves to produce pictures of the heart from within the heart, via a catheter.

Biventricular Pacing
Biventricular pacing “resynchronizes” the timing of the electrical impulses of the heart. This form of therapy uses a pacemaker implanted under the skin and designed specifically to improve ventricular function in patients who have congestive heart failure.

Defibrillator Implantation
Also referred to as implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), this small implant constantly monitors the heartbeat. When the heart begins fibrillation (fast or slow twitching of cardiac muscle fibers) the ICD delivers a shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

Pacemaker Implantation
A pacemaker is a small device implanted under the skin to help stimulate and pace the heart. Pacemakers are typically used for patients who have a dangerously slow natural heart rate.