Western Oklahomans now benefit from the region’s only comprehensive cardiac catheterization lab, completed in 2003 at GPRMC at Great Plains Regional Medical Center. The lab features cutting-edge information systems and medical technology to diagnose and treat heart disease and disorders.
A Siemens Angiostar Plus multifunctional digital acquisitions and high contrast fluoroscopy unit is the technical centerpiece of the lab. It, simply, translates into state-of-the-art computerized imaging equipment that aids the cardiologist in the detection, diagnosis, intervention and treatment of cardiac and general vascular disease.
GPRMC’s Cardiac Catheterization Team consists of six registered nurses and three radiology technicians. The team has received intense training at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City and provide excellence in interventional cardiovascular care.
What is Cardiac Catheterization?
Done either in the heart, leg or arm, a cardiac catheterization is an interventional procedure generally performed as a diagnostic test after a patient experiences chest pains or presents other symptoms to his or her physician that could point to a problem with the heart.
Performed by an interventional cardiologist, the cath helps the cardiologist to identify narrowed or clogged arteries leading to or within the heart; measure blood pressure within the heart; evaluate the heart valves’ functioning; ascertain how well the four chambers of the heart are functioning; checks for congenital heart defects; or evaluates an enlarged heart.
Generally, blood and urine studies are done, as well as an electrocardiogram, chest x ray and stress test, prior to the procedure, which lasts from 1 to 2 hours. Local anesthesia is applied to the catheter insertion site, which may be preceded by a mild sedative. The catheter is threaded over a guide wire, inserted into an artery in the arm or leg, and fed up and into the heart.
The cardiologist watches the threading and placement of the catheter via a fluoroscope (x-ray diagnostic equipment that takes pictures of moving organs). Once in the heart, the guide wire is removed. The catheter is then used to measure blood pressure within the heart’s different chambers and to take blood samples.
Dye is injected through the catheter and into the coronary arteries. Multiple x-ray images are taken to allow identification of any disease in the coronary arteries. An aortogram, which gives a clear image of the aorta, is also performed at this time. The catheter is then removed. Recovery time is generally 2 to 6 hours.
Although the procedure is not painful, it can cause some discomfort. There can be complications, such as blood clots leading to stroke or heart attack, arrhythmias, allergic reaction to dye, infection and accumulation of fluid in the heart sac. The patient is carefully monitored, with procedures in place should any complication occur.
Test results are generally available within 24 hours of the procedure.