A catheterization laboratory or CathLab is a facility in our hospital where special imaging equipment is used to study the blood vessels (arteries) of the heart and the chambers of the heart and also to treat any abnormality found therein.
The procedures performed at the Cath Lab include
Angiogram, wherein a special dye is passed through the catheter and a series of x-rays will be taken. The dye will show up any narrowed area or blockage in the artery; on the x-ray.
Angioplasty - During an angioplasty, the catheter passes through the blood vessel until its tip reaches a narrow or blocked section of coronary artery; which supplies blood to muscles of the heart. A balloon on the end of the catheter is then gently inflated so that it crushes the fatty plaques or deposits against the artery wall. Removal of obstruction widens the artery and allows blood to flow smoothly.
A catheter Ablation
A catheter ablation which involves passing thin, flexible tubes, called catheters, through the blood vessels to the heart. The catheters record the heart’s electrical activity and can pinpoint where the arrhythmia is coming from.
The area of heart muscle at the affected site is then destroyed using either heat (radiofrequency ablation) or by freezing (cryoablation). This creates scar tissue, which doesn’t conduct electricity and so knocks out a trouble spot or acts as a fence around the problem area to prevent the electrical signals from reaching the rest of the heart and causing the arrhythmia.
Catheter ablation is a drug-free solution for a wide range of abnormal heart rhythms (known as arrhythmias). An ablation is usually performed when the arrhythmia is causing symptoms that interfere with person’s normal daily activities, and when they haven’t responded to other treatments, such as medicines.
Implantation of Pacemaker (ICDs)
A pacemaker or ICD is a small electrical device, fitted in the chest or abdomen. It's used to treat some abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that cause the heart to either beat too slowly or miss beats.
Some pacemakers can also help the chambers of the heart beat normal.
For Pacemaker or ICD implantation, a small incision is made in the chest and the lead or leads will be passed into the heart, using a vein as a guide. The lead(s) are be implanted in the heart, using x-ray imaging showing the heart, so leads can be put in the right place.
The leads are then connected to the pacemaker and the pacemaker is inserted into the incision and implanted under the skin. The wound is then closed using dissolvable stitches.
Usually the patient is awake during Cath-Lab Procedures.
A Cath-Lab is staffed by a team of specialists, led by a Cardiologist and assisted by specially trained nurses & technicians.