Angioplasty is a procedure that is sometimes combined with cardiac catheterization to open narrowed or blocked arteries. Traditional angioplasty involves the use of a balloon catheter – a small, hollow, flexible tube that has a balloon near the end of it. The catheter is inserted into an artery, usually near the groin, to open it and restore blood flow.
Elective angioplasties are performed in designated centers when the situation is not immediately life threatening. Patients may elect to have this procedure as a preventative measure to increase blood flow through narrowed arteries that may otherwise become completely blocked. Elective angioplasty is also a treatment option for patients experiencing chest pain or pressure that isn't relieved by medicine.
Emergency angioplasties are performed on heart attack patients to open blocked arteries and restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible.
Virtua's interventional cardiologists perform emergency angioplasties in state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories (cath labs) at Virtua Memorial and Virtua Marlton in the south New Jersey area. These labs are designated by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services to provide emergency intervention including emergency angioplasty and stenting for high-risk patients experiencing a heart attack.
Virtua Marlton also performs elective angioplasties.
The cath labs are equipped with the latest technology, including an all-digital cardiovascular imaging and archiving system that offers:
- The clearest visualization of fine veins and arteries
- Precise diagnostics
- Immediate life-saving capabilities
- Ability to treat more cardiovascular conditions
Virtua also helps to advance diagnosis before a patient arrives in the emergency department. Virtua paramedics in the Mobile Intensive Care Units are now able to diagnose heart attacks in route to the hospital. EKGs are conducted in the ambulance and the results can be transmitted directly to the physician at the hospital.