State-of-the-art cath lab offers 3-D images, more precise diagnosis

Cath Lab X-Rays
Cath Lab X-Rays

Among HeartCare's comprehensive array of diagnostic options is a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab. HeartCare's cath lab houses West Tennessee's only 3-D rotational angiography system that allows doctors to see multi-dimensional views of the heart in real time for more precise diagnosis.

A doctor might schedule a patient for cardiac catheterization to screen for heart disease and evaluate heart function. If the cath shows blockages or other problems, further treatment (such as angioplasty or bypass surgery) might be recommended.

A cardiac cath is an invasive, outpatient procedure. In the cath lab, the patient wears a hospital gown and lies on a table. Through an IV line, a mild sedative is administered, but the patient remains awake through the procedure. A doctor inserts the catheter, a narrow plastic tube, into the patient's groin artery and guides it to the heart, using monitors above the exam table.

After the catheter reaches the heart, contrast dye is injected to define the vessels and heart chambers so the X-ray camera can take pictures. Mounted on the ceiling in HeartCare's lab is the Philips Integris Allura X-ray, which provides detailed multi-dimensional images in real time, allowing faster and more precise diagnosis. The camera also exposes the patient to less radiation than other systems. The 3-D moving picture (angiogram) of the heart is a valuable diagnostic tool. The actual study takes 15 minutes; the entire process from prep to study to recovery takes 5-6 hours. HeartCare's cath lab has 12 patient rooms and a comfortable recovery room with recliners.

Multi-dimensional images in real time

HeartCare's cardiac catheterization lab is equipped with West Tennessee's only 3D rotational angiography system, the Integris Allura from Philips Medical Systems. The unit consists of a ceiling mounted G-arm housing an X-ray tube, monitors, a table and a viewing console. The digital system provides detailed multi-dimensional images of a patient's heart in real time, allowing faster and more precise diagnosis. Plus, the Integris Allura exposes patients to less radiation than other systems. After a catheter is inserted into the patient's groin and guided to the heart, it injects a contrast dye. The X-ray arm rotates to create a 3-D moving picture (angiogram) of the heart and vessels.

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