Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic tool used by heart specialists (or cardiologists) to evaluate the heart. Cardiac catheterization is an important method for detecting a range of heart problems. Specifically, the test enables physicians to view coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood and oxygen.
The test is performed by inserting an intravenous (IV) line into one of the blood vessels in the arm, neck, or groin. A catheter is then inserted through the IV and into the blood vessel. The catheter is carefully threaded into the heart using an x-ray machine that produces real-time pictures (fluoroscopy). Once the catheter is in place, contrast material is injected and pictures are taken. This procedure can identify heart defects or disease.
Virtua has two all-digital cardiac catheterization labs at Virtua Marlton and Virtua Memorial. The labs allow Virtua's interventional cardiologists to diagnose and treat more cardiovascular conditions and feature:
- The clearest visualization of fine vessels
- Pinpoint diagnostics
- Immediate life-saving capabilities
- Ability to treat more cardiovascular conditions
Virtua cardiovascular program provides a wide range of care including cardiovascular prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The program is staffed by a team of more than 100 board-certified cardiologists, experienced nurses in cardiac care and registered cardiovascular technicians.
Cardiac catheterization is the most definitive way to diagnose the extent of disease in the coronary arteries. It is however, just one of the many services offered at Virtua to diagnose heart conditions. Other services include electrocardiography, comprehensive stress testing and echocardiography and pacemaker evaluations. Virtua is also a member of Women's HeartAdvantage, a program designed to raise awareness of heart disease in women.
Virtua all-digital cardiac catheterization labs at Virtua Memorial and Virtua Marlton are equipped with the latest technology to diagnose narrowed or blocked arteries. 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 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.