A sharp image from the Cardiac Cath Lab
Dominican Hospital employs an all-digital cardiovascular X-ray imaging system that gives cardiologists a clearer view into their patients' hearts.
In 2009, Dominican opened its second, $3 million, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization (cath) lab. Two cath labs ensure that cardiologists will always have one lab ready for emergencies, while at the same time allowing those specialists to do electively scheduled procedures. The capabilities of the new lab also increase the kinds of procedures that can be offered. This includes peripheral vascular procedures and advanced pacemaker therapy.
The equipment in our two cath labs enables cardiologists to see with outstanding clarity the blood vessels under investigation, as well as the tiny devices, such as stents, guidewires and catheters, used during those cardiovascular procedures. In addition to showing a more distinct picture than the traditional X-ray systems, the GE Innova 2000 also has the power to penetrate the denser mass of large patients.
Digital imaging also means patients are exposed to much lower doses of radiation than with the conventional X-ray system. With improved technology and a different way to capture the images, it takes less radiation to produce a finely detailed view. Also, the picture maintains its clarity better than X-ray film, since it goes through fewer processes to be produced and viewed.
What to Expect in the Cath Lab
Patients are lightly sedated to help them relax, and placed on their back beneath an X-ray machine hooked up to a monitor. A small incision is made in the groin, and a thin, flexible catheter inserted into the artery, and threaded to his heart.
The cardiologist utilizes pre-shaped catheters to look at the left and right coronary arteries and the left ventricle of his heart. Once a catheter was in place, dye is injected into the artery to inspect the valves and overall pumping efficiency of the heart muscles.
A routine procedure takes about 30 minutes. Patients are monitored for a short time afterwards, before being able to return home.