heart care

Catheterization Lab

Expert catheterization services

The catheterization lab at Adventist Health Sonora is available for diagnostic cardiac catheterizations, peripheral interventional catheterizations and other interventional radiology procedures that require the use of a special X-ray (fluoroscope) machine.

Some of these special procedures include:

  • Cardioversions
  • Kyphoplasties (for spinal compression fractures)
  • Special GI procedures
  • Bronchoscopies

We also offer placement of and battery changes for:

  • Pacemakers
  • Insertable cardiac monitors
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators

Cardiac catheterization is performed to further diagnose coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure and/or certain congenital (present at birth) heart conditions, such as atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect, when other less invasive types of diagnostic tests indicate the presence of one of these conditions.

During cardiac catheterization (often called cardiac cath), a very small hollow tube, or catheter, is moved from a blood vessel in the groin or arm through the aorta into the heart. Once the catheter is in place, several diagnostic techniques may be used. The tip of the catheter can be placed into various parts of the heart to measure the pressures within the chambers. The catheter can be advanced into the coronary arteries and a contrast dye injected into the arteries.

The use of fluoroscopy (a special type of X-ray, similar to an X-ray "movie") assists the physician in the location of blockages in the coronary arteries as the contrast dye moves through the arteries.

A cardiac catheterization may also be performed if you have recently had an episode(s) of one or more of the following cardiac symptoms:

  • Chest pain or angina
  • Irregular heart rate or rhythm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

If a screening examination such as an ECG or stress test suggests a possibility of some type of heart disease process that needs to be explored further, a cardiac cath may be ordered by your physician.

Other reasons for a cath procedure include evaluation of myocardial perfusion (blood flow to the heart muscle) if chest pain or angina occurs or after:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Coronary angioplasty (the opening of a coronary artery using a balloon or other method) or placement of a stent (a tiny expandable metal coil placed inside an artery to keep the artery open)

Peripheral interventional catheterizations are performed to diagnose and bypass strictures in the blood vessels that feed the legs and arms. Your physician can identify and at times remove or bypass blockages in the peripheral vascular system to allow blood to flow freely. This is also done through a blood vessel in the groin.

After the procedure

After the procedure, you may be taken to the recovery room for observation or returned to your hospital room. You will remain flat in bed for several hours after the procedure to prevent bleeding from the site. A nurse will monitor your vital signs, the insertion site, and the circulation/sensation in the affected leg or arm.

Once at home, you should monitor the insertion site for bleeding, unusual pain, swelling, abnormal discoloration or temperature change at or near the insertion site. A small bruise is normal. If you notice a constant or large amount of blood at the site that isn’t stopped by a small dressing, notify your physician.