Most people have heard of a cath lab, but many do not actually know what it is or how it is utilized.
A cath lab, or a catheterization laboratory, is a special examination room in a hospital where heart and vascular physicians perform tests and procedures to diagnose and/or treat cardiovascular conditions. Cath labs have advanced diagnostic imaging equipment that is used to view arteries, veins, and evaluate blood flow and pressure in a patient’s cardiovascular system.
At a cath lab, heart and vascular physicians can check for heart disease, determine how well a patient’s heart muscle is working, and perform procedures to open blocked arteries.
In order to view a patient’s blood vessels, a thin tube, called a catheter, is inserted into an artery or vein, and a contrast dye is pumped through it. This dye allows the arteries and veins to appear on the imaging equipment, similar to an x-ray. Heart and vascular physicians can then determine if there are any blockages in a patient’s blood vessels and the severity of these blockages.
Iredell Memorial Hospital’s Cath Lab
Iredell Memorial Hospital is home to the Iredell Heart & Vascular Center, a state-of-the-art facility that includes a cath lab. Cardiologists and vascular surgeons at Iredell Memorial Hospital’s cath lab can do a variety of procedures, including cardiac catheterizations, pacemaker and defibrillator implantations, cardiac interventions, peripheral arterial interventions, and venous procedures.
As medical technology continuously evolves, Iredell Health System is doing its part to keep up with the newest and greatest trends and equipment by recently updating its cath lab. Iredell Memorial Hospital’s cath lab now has a new machine called the Siemens Artis Zee with PURE.
This new cath lab equipment has made it easier for physicians to carry out both vascular and cardiac procedures without having to move patients to different rooms because of imaging limitations. Previously, Iredell had a cath suite for heart procedures and a cath suite for vascular procedures. But with the updated technology, physicians can easily change the orientation of the equipment to view the patient’s peripheral vascular system or their heart vessels.
“This new technology enables us to do cardiac and vascular studies at the same time without having to change labs. It’s much more convenient,” said Charles DeBerardinis, cardiologist at Iredell Health System.
In addition, the new equipment produces industry-leading images while exposing patients to lesser amounts of radiation.
“The imaging on the new equipment is significantly better, and we have better resolution with a bigger field of view. There are also new software capabilities that we did not have before that allow us to expose the patients to less radiation and do more complicated procedures,” said William B. Newton, physician, and board-certified vascular surgeon with Iredell Vascular Clinic.
“This is a great system. Radiation is less, visibility is much better, and we are comfortable doing much more complex procedures on this new machine,” added cardiologist Jips Zachariah, a cardiologist with Piedmont HealthCare who utilizes Iredell’s Heart & Vascular Center.
The new cath lab updates should make patients feel an even greater sense of comfort, knowing that their physicians are getting the best view and images possible.
Iredell’s cath lab physicians have received great feedback from patients, saying they have felt very comfortable and have received personalized care.
“Patients at Iredell’s cath lab feel like they’re listened to, they’re paid attention to, that their care has been very personalized, and that there is a great amount of time and effort put into their treatment plans,” said Charles DeBerardinis.