Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories
Housed in the Baptist Heart Center, Baptist Health Paducah's three cardiac catheterization laboratories ("cath labs") are used in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary and peripheral artery disease. More than 3,000 heart catheterizations are performed at Baptist Health Paducah every year.
Catheterization helps doctors diagnose a number of heart and peripheral vascular conditions, including coronary artery disease and defective heart valves. During the procedure, a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin or arm. Then it is advanced slowly through the arteries until it reaches the heart or peripheral artery of interest.
Once in place, the catheter can be used to measure the pressures inside your heart so your doctor can determine how well your heart is pumping and how well its valves are working. It can also be used to insert dye to perform other types of diagnostic tests including coronary angiograms, left ventriculogram and peripheral artery angiograms. A coronary angiogram helps your doctor detect blockages in the coronary (heart) arteries. A left ventriculogram is used to look at the main pumping chamber of the heart. Peripheral artery angiograms are injection of dye into other arteries of the body that may have blockages.
Cardiac catheterization can also be used to treat heart and peripheral artery disease through:
- Coronary and peripheral balloon angioplasty
- Coronary and peripheral atherectomy
- Coronary and peripheral stent placement
- Coronary drug coated or medicated stent placement
In addition, the cath labs are used for permanent pacemaker, and implantable defibrillator placement, as well as the treatment of atrial septal defects in the heart.
About Balloon Angioplasty
Balloon angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure used to open arteries narrowed by plaque. It offers an alternative to open heart surgery for some patients.
During the procedure, the cardiologist inserts a balloon catheter into a small incision in the groin or arm. When the catheter reaches the narrowed area of the coronary artery, the doctor slowly inflates the balloon. The balloon squeezes the plaque against the artery wall, expanding the diameter of the artery at the site of the blockage. Once the artery has been opened enough to allow blood to flow through freely, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
What is atherectomy?
Atherectomy is a procedure to remove plaque from the arteries. Plaque is the buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances in an artery's inner lining.
Coronary atherectomy removes plaque from the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. It uses a laser catheter, or a rotating shaver ("burr") device on the end of a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the body and advanced through an artery to the area of narrowing. Other devices are dissectional catheterectomy (catheters that shave off the plaque), or laser catheters that vaporize the plaque. Balloon angioplasty may be used after an atherectomy.
About Laser Angioplasty
Laser angioplasty is similar to balloon angioplasty and is also used to open arteries narrowed by plaque. During the procedure, a laser catheter is inserted into a small incision in the groin or arm. When the laser catheter reaches the obstruction, it is positioned against the blockage and the laser is energized to remove the obstruction. Once the artery is reopened, the laser catheter is removed.
Rotablation procedures are similar to balloon and laser angioplasty, but use a special device with a rotating blade to shave the fatty tissue off the clogged artery wall. Two types of rotablation procedures are available:
- Directional atherectomy, also called a DCA procedure, which removes the shaved fatty tissue through a catheter; and
- Rotational burr atherectomy, which reduces the shaved fatty tissue to microscopic particles which are then eliminated through the bloodstream.
About Stent Placement
Sometimes, angioplasty procedures don't completely restore the blood flow in the coronary arteries. When this occurs, your doctor may use a medical device called a stent to keep the artery open.
Stents are conduits made of special materials which are inserted into the coronary arteries to support the arterial wall. Before a stent is inserted, the blocked artery is opened with angioplasty. Then, using the same catheter that opened the artery, a stent is positioned in the area of the blockage and expanded. The stent remains in place permanently to hold the artery open.
About Drug-Coated or Medicated Stents
A drug-coated or medicated stent is a normal metal stent that has been coated with a pharmacologic agent (drug) that is known to interfere with the process of restenosis (reblocking).
Temporary Pacemakers, Permanent Pacemakers, Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators
Temporary pacemakers, permanent pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators are used to make the heart beat more regularly. Different types of pacemakers and defibrillators can be implanted to help people with abnormal heart rhythms caused by electrical problems in the heart. At Baptist Health Paducah, patients receive their pacemakers or defibrillators in the cardiac catheterization labs.
Outpatients undergoing cardiac catheterizations and other procedures in the cath lab are admitted directly to Baptist Health Paducah's Close Observation Unit on the morning of their catheterization and then returned to this area to be with their families prior to discharge or overnight admission to the hospital.
Registering for Your Cardiac Cath
Baptist Health Paducah's Express Check program makes registering for cardiac cath procedures fast and easy. To take advantage of the program, follow these simple steps:
- As soon as your physician schedules you for your cardiac cath, call our pre-registration area at (270) 575-2979. Pre-registration clerks are available 24 hours a day seven days a week to take your phone call. Even if you are scheduled for a test or procedure the same day, it is still to your advantage to call ahead to begin the registration process.
- Be ready to provide the registration clerk with the following information:
- your medical record number, if you are familiar with it and you have registered at Baptist Health Paducah before;
- your date of birth;
- your social security number;
- your home address;
- the specific tests or procedures the physician has ordered; and
- your insurance card.
- If the clerk is able to complete your paperwork in this phone call, he or she will tell you that you are eligible for Express Check.
- When you prepare to come to the hospital, make sure you bring your physician orders and your insurance card with you.
- When you arrive at Baptist Health Paducah , proceed directly to the Express Check receptionist, who will copy your insurance card, have you sign a consent form and send you to the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories.
You may also pre-register online by clicking here.
If you do not take advantage of the Express Check program, plan to arrive at the hospital 30 minutes before your scheduled procedure time to complete the registration process.
Most patients who receive cardiac catheterizations are not seen by their physicians for several weeks after the procedure. In the meantime, they may have questions about their recovery. Baptist Health Paducah provides a special follow-up program for cardiac cath patients to alert them to any potential problems and to answer questions about their recovery.
All cardiac cath patients receive printed instructions on self-care before leaving the hospital. In addition, a special Baptist Health Line telephone number is included in case the patient has questions or problems. By phoning the 24-hour number, patients can speak directly with a registered nurse. The nurse also calls every patient who is discharged from the hospital within 72 hours of receiving a cardiac cath procedure.
For More Information
For more information about the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Baptist Health Paducah, phone Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918.