At Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Angiography Service, we identify heart problems through a diagnostic procedure – cardiac catheterization – that allows doctors to view the chambers, valves, vessels and arteries of the heart. Our two cath labs and angio suites also permit YRMC to offer other services, including studies of arteries in the abdomen, legs and neck and special procedures to unblock these arteries. The benefits to our patients are as numerous as the services themselves.
Cardiac catheterization and angiography are highly specialized diagnostic techniques that are performed hundreds of thousands of times each year in this country. Both procedures are extremely common. The complication rate is low, and the procedures are often performed on an outpatient basis.
YRMC’s cath labs and angio suites are among Arizona’s finest, featuring state-of-the-art equipment. Experienced physicians perform the cardiac catheterization and angiography procedures using special instruments that include monitoring screens (similar to a TV), computers and X-ray equipment.
The latest improvements came in 2008, when YRMC upgraded much of the equipment in the original cath lab. The new flat-panel Allura Xper FD20 technology provides better image quality and a shorter procedure time, which results in less radiation exposure for patients. With this technology, physicians and technicians can visualize 3D cardiac anatomy and the position of all catheters, in real time and in one image.
A long, narrow, flexible tube – called a catheter – is inserted through either the femoral artery in the groin or the brachial artery in the arm. Prior to inserting the catheter, your doctor will administer a local anesthetic to numb the insertion site. Patients are awake during the procedures and may watch them on the monitor, though they are usually given medication to help them relax and may feel sleepy. In either procedure, patients will not feel the catheter as it is advanced through the arteries to the point of interest.
Once the catheter has reached the point of interest, an X-ray camera ensures that it is positioned accurately. Movement of the camera allows the arteries to be viewed in three dimensions and from different angles.
Depending on the procedure, your doctor will be viewing the arteries (this is called an angiogram) or the major pumping chamber of the heart (this is called a ventriculogram). Patients will experience minimal discomfort and be under the constant care of skilled specialists.
Cardiac catheterization and angiography provide accurate and comprehensive information about specific areas of interest, permitting your doctor to make an informed treatment decision. These procedures reveal potential problem areas, allowing life-saving treatment and/or surgery.
YRMC’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Angiography Service is an integral part of The Heart Center at YRMC, a leading-edge, heart-healthy cardiac program that features diagnosis, treatment, surgery, rehabilitation and education.