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Cardiac Cath Lab

The Cardiac Cath Lab has state-of-the-art equipment and is staffed with registered nurses and cardiovascular imaging technologists who have been providing cardiac catheterization services at St. Joseph Hospital since 1991. The staff has advanced training in cardiovascular procedures and all nurses have extensive Intensive Care experience.

Catheterization Laboratory Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization: Called "cardiac cath" for short, this is the single test that most precisely reveals the state of a patient's coronary arteries. The procedure is performed when the history and physical examination of the patient and non-invasive testing strongly suggests blockage in one or more coronary arteries.

Balloon Angioplasty: This is a non-surgical technique to enlarge a coronary artery that has become narrowed from coronary artery disease (arteriosclerosis). A catheter (plastic tube) with an inflatable balloon at its tip is passed through the narrowed area of the artery. The physician inflates the balloon, which widens the narrowed area and increases the flow of blood. The balloon is then deflated and removed. After removal of the devices, the artery generally remains open.

Stents: These are often inserted during a balloon angioplasty. A stent looks similar to a half-inch piece of drinking straw, but is made of space-age metal. It is one method used to reduce the chances that narrowing of the artery will return.

Peripheral Angiography and Angioplasty: repairing the arteries of the arms and legs with a balloon or stent.

Electrophysiology Studies: This is the science of the "electrical system" or the rhythm of the heart. Frequently, the heart can develop an irregular beat that requires treatments quite different from the methods used for treating arteriosclerosis. Electrophysiology explores the electrical impulses and fibrillation of the heart, and diagnoses and treats potentially lethal fast heart rates before they can lead to cardiac arrest.

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator: To help maintain a regular heartbeat in patients who are at high risk for rapid arrhythmia, a small defibrillator can be implanted near the heart. It continuously monitors the heart's rhythms and makes significant or minute corrections to bring an irregular beat back to normal.

Pacemakers: These devices are used to help restore normal heart rhythm and rate to those who need the intervention. Pacemakers have become increasingly more sophisticated and can now be programmed in a doctor's office by specially trained staff.

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