Diagnosing and Treating Blocked Arteries
The cardiac catheterization labs at King's Daughters provide high-tech, superior cardiac care, including cardiac catheterization, angiography, balloon angioplasty, electrophysiology and pacemaker and defibrillator insertions.
During cardiac catheterization, cardiologists can evaluate heart function; confirm heart disease; evaluate heart muscle function; and make treatment decisions. It is the gold standard of treatment for patients with an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, also called a STEMI.
What Happens During a Cath?
During a heart cath, the cardiologist inserts a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in the leg or arm. The catheter is guided through the vessel to the coronary arteries and positioned using a high-tech X-ray machine.
Once the catheter is in place, the cardiologist injects contrast dye through the catheter and uses X-ray to capture images as a motion picture on film. This allows the cardiologist to view the motion of the walls of the ventricles, the valves and blood flow patterns in the heart and great vessels.
Depending on the findings, the physician may treat the problem in the cath lab with an interventional procedure, prescribe medications for treatment, or refer the patient for surgical treatment. A cardiac catheterization may be performed to:
- Open blocked coronary arteries with balloon angioplasty and stenting
- Check blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart
- Check blood flow in the coronary arteries
- Check the pumping action of the heart
- Check for presence and severity of a congenital heart defect
- Check blood flow through the heart after surgery
- Determine how well the heart valves are working