Cardiac catheterization is the general name for the group of procedures that involve physician-guided, long, thin tubes (catheters) entered through an artery in the leg or shoulder and into the heart and the coronary arteries.
Catheterization can be used in an emergency to intervene during a heart attack or to identify and correct structural problems to prevent such events.
These catheterization procedures evaluate narrowed coronary arteries, poorly functioning heart muscles, damaged heart valves, inherited heart defects and the function of the heart and its vessels.
The information obtained from a heart catheterization is the most accurate available regarding the arteries and function of the heart. It defines the presence or absence of disease, the severity of blockages in the arteries of the heart and the need for further treatment.
At Mount Nittany Medical Center, our top-flight cardiac catheterization laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, such as the Advantx LC+ cardiovascular imaging system from GE Medical Systems. It provides high-performance digital imaging and a full range of capabilities to help us achieve the fastest, most accurate diagnoses possible, as well as the ability to build upon today's capabilities as technology continues to evolve.
Experienced invasive cardiologists perform all cardiac catheterizations. Services include cardioversions, pericardiocentesis, Swan-Ganz catheter insertions, intra aortic balloon pump insertions, temporary pacemakers and tilt-table testing procedures.
When a patient is having a heart attack, paramedics, emergency department (ED) staff, cardiologists and cardiac catheterization lab staff must work quickly and cohesively to reduce the chance of a heart attack patient becoming a heart attack victim.
Mount Nittany Medical Center is prepared with the tools necessary to reduce the door-to-balloon time — the period between the arrival of a patient at the hospital and the point when the balloon reaches the blockage during an intervention. The shorter this critical time period is, the less damage done to the heart muscle due to a lack of oxygen-enriched blood flow.
Using upgraded technology, the Medical Center receives EKG results while a patient is traveling to the ED to more accurately and quickly diagnose a heart-related condition and communicate to physicians. This timely information allows staff to know when a patient needs to bypass the ED and go straight to the cardiac catheterization lab.