Catheterization Laboratory: ---
Cardiac catheterization and angiography are used to diagnose and treat many conditions. At New York Methodist, board certified vascular specialists perform the latest procedures daily in our four state-of-the-art catheterization labs.
Catheterization techniques, which generally take 2 - 3 hours to complete, play an important role in:
- Locating plaque that may be narrowing or blocking arteries and blood vessels
- Measuring pressures within chambers of the heart and across the heart valves to assess their function and need for treatment
- Detecting and repairing vascular lesions and defects
- Measuring response to long term therapy for people living with pulmonary hypertension
Advances in technology have made it possible for catheterization techniques to be used in place of surgery, in many cases. Procedures offered at NYM include:
At NYM, we perform both coronary (heart vessels) and peripheral (all vessels other than heart vessels) angiograms. During angiography, special dye is injected into the bloodstream to make the arteries in that part of the body show up on an X-ray. Once your physician can see your blood vessels, he or she can better detect unusual blockages or defects in your arteries and veins.
With catheterization, a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted in either your arm or leg, threaded into the artery that’s being checked and then used to inject the dye.
X rays are then taken while the dye is flowing through the arteries. Once your doctor identifies the problem, he’ll then recommend the proper course of treatment.
Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.
Over time, a fatty substance called plaque can build up in your arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. This condition is called atherosclerosis and it can affect any artery in the body.
Angioplasty can restore blood flow if arteries have become narrowed or blocked by plaque. First, your doctor will need to know the location and extent of the blockages in your arteries. To find this information, your doctor will perform an angiogram (see above).
For the angioplasty procedure, a catheter with a balloon on its tip (a balloon catheter) is inserted in the affected artery and positioned in the blockage. The balloon is then expanded. This pushes the plaque against the artery wall, relieving the blockage and improving blood flow.
Coronary Balloon Angioplasty
The illustration shows a cross-section of a coronary artery with plaque buildup. The coronary artery is located on the surface of the heart. Figure A shows the deflated balloon catheter inserted into the narrowed coronary artery. In figure B, the balloon is inflated, compressing the plaque and restoring the size of the artery. Figure C shows the widened artery.
A small mesh tube called a stent usually is placed in the artery during angioplasty. The stent is wrapped around the deflated balloon catheter before the catheter is inserted in the artery.
When the balloon is inflated to compress the plaque, the stent expands and attaches to the artery wall. The stent supports the inner artery wall and reduces the chance of the artery becoming narrowed or blocked again.
Some stents are coated with medicines that are slowly and continuously released into the artery. These are called drug-eluting stents. The medicines help prevent the artery from becoming blocked with scar tissue that grows in the artery.
Angioplasty with Stent Placement
The illustration shows the placement of a stent in a coronary artery with plaque buildup. Figure A shows the deflated balloon catheter and closed stent inserted into the narrowed coronary artery. The inset image on figure A shows a cross-section of the artery with the inserted balloon catheter and closed stent. In figure B, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent and compressing the plaque to restore the size of the artery. Figure C shows the stent-widened artery. The inset image on figure C shows a cross-section of the compressed plaque and stent-widened artery.
Angioplasty is sometimes used in conjunction with atherectomy which is a procedure that removes plaque from artery walls. With atherectomy, your physician will thread a device with a rotary cutter on the tip into a catheter. The device breaks apart and removes the plaque in the artery, allowing for improved blood flow.
For more information on catheterization procedures performed at NYM, please call 718.780.5686.