CardioSD Procedures

Hospital Procedure Details

Angiography (Angiogram):  A catheter is placed in the arm or the groin and a contrast dye is injected to visualize the heart (Coronary Angiogram) or the extremities (Peripheral Angiogram). The progress of the dye is observed on monitors to detect any blockages in the vessels. The Catheter and/or x ray equipment may need repositioned during the procedure to obtain all the necessary information.

Cardiac (Heart) Catheterization:  A long thin tube (catheter) is placed by your cardiologist inside an artery in your groin or arm and guided toward your heart which is observed on monitors as it progresses. The doctor may also need to insert a new catheter, move the existing catheter, or x-ray equipment to visualize other parts of the heart during the procedure. A contrast medium (dye) may be injected through the catheter to assist in visualization of the heart and vessels. This is also known as a Coronary Angiogram.

Cardioversion:  Refers to the process of restoring the heart to normal rhythm from an abnormal rhythm such as atrial fibrillation. Cardioversion can be done by taking an oral anti-arrhythmic medication as an outpatient or in the hospital with IV medication while you are continuously monitored. Electrical Cardioversion is a hospital procedure in which a shock is delivered through the chest wall using special paddles applied to the skin of the chest and back. Electrical Cardioversion is performed by your cardiologist in a hospital setting such as intensive care unit, recovery room, or a special procedure room (Cath Lab). The type of Cardioversion ordered is decided upon by your physician based on your symptoms and diagnosis.

Electrophysiology (EP) Studies:  One or more catheters will be inserted through your groin or arm, passed through the veins, and positioned in the heart. The catheters will record electrical activity of the heart to find out where and when signals begin and how often they are sent. Other procedures that may be done with this study are radiofrequency ablation (destruction of abnormal pathway or cells in the heart) and defibrillation (electric shock to the heart to adjust rhythm). This study may take up to 4 hours to complete.

ICD (Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator) Insertion::  These are small battery operated devices that help regulate a person with a fast or irregular heart rate by passing an electric current through the heart. The ICD has a generator with one or more leads that constantly monitor your heart. The generator may be implanted either under your collarbone on the left or right side of the chest, or in your abdomen by making a “pocket” under your skin. The lead wires are put into a vein to your heart with the other end attached to the pulse generator. Once implanted, the doctor will program the ICD to treat your specific heart rhythm problem. You will need to stay away from machines that could interfere with your ICD and avoid areas with strong magnetic or electrical fields. Most home appliances, including microwaves do not interfere with this device. Please discuss with your physician any concerns or questions.

Pacemaker Insertion:  A pacemaker is a surgically implanted electronic device that regulates a slow or erratic heartbeat. The pacemaker is implanted under the skin of the patient’s chest and an incision is made above the collarbone to guide lead wire(s) through a large vein to the chamber(s) of the heart. As many as 3 lead wires may be used for the pacing system depending on your diagnosis and the configuration of the pacemaker. The leads are then attached to the pacemaker and a chest x ray is taken to assure proper positioning.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary (balloon) Angiography (PTCA):  A catheter based procedure performed to open up a blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow to the heart. This is often performed with a Cardiac Cath when possible as all of the steps involved with catheterization are also necessary for performing an angioplasty. Angioplasty is performed on an elective basis to treat coronary artery disease, but may also be performed on an emergency basis to treat a heart attack.

Peripheral Vascular Studies:: 

Radiofrequency Ablation:  A non surgical procedure used to treat rapid heartbeat. A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided to the heart with real time moving x-ray’s (fluoroscopy) displayed on a monitor. Once the electrode is at the exact position, painless radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the area. This destroys carefully selected heart muscle cells which will stop the extra impulses causing the rapid heartbeats.

Stent Procedure - Coronary and Peripheral:  A stent is a wire mesh tube inserted in a coronary (heart) or peripheral (extremities) artery to open the vessel during an angioplasty. The stent is collapsed and put over a balloon catheter, which is guided to the area of blockage. The balloon is then inflated to expand the stent, which locks into place and forms a scaffold which holds the artery open. The stent stays in the artery permanently to improve blood flow to the vessel and relieve symptoms (usually chest or leg pain).

Tilt Table Study:  A simple test that checks how body positioning can affect your heart rate and blood pressure. Small electrodes (pads) are placed on your chest to record your heartbeat and a cuff is placed on your arm to record blood pressure. An IV may be placed in you other arm to deliver fluids or receive medications. You will lie flat on the table with straps over your upper and lower body to hold you in place while the table is moved or tilted into various positions. You should report any symptoms to your doctor during the test such as weakness, nausea, dimmed vision, or lightheadedness.

Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE):  A test that allows your doctor to record images of your heart by inserting a flexible probe in your esophagus (throat). The probe is gently inserted into the mouth and, as you swallow the tube, is guided into the esophagus. The probe is connected to an Echocardiograph machine with a monitor which allows the doctor to view and record images. Patients are given a mild sedative prior to onset of procedure.