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Hospital Procedures

Image of physician inspecting imagery of patients heart on screen

Cardiac Catheterization: During cardiac catheterization, doctors insert a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter, into the body. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and is guided toward the heart. The procedure allows doctors to study how well your heart pumps blood and to examine the coronary arteries (the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle) and the heart valves. Other terms used to describe cardiac catheterization include coronary angiography, angiogram, cardiac cath, and heart cath.

Coronary Interventions: Coronary procedure allows doctors to open or widen narrowed coronary arteries without surgery. During a coronary procedure, a long, flexible tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a blood vessel and advanced toward the heart. Doctors use the catheter to diagnose narrowed coronary arteries. They can also use the catheter to widen narrowed arteries and improve the flow of blood to the heart muscle. 

  • Coronary Intervention - Balloon Angioplasty: This procedure allows widening of narrowed coronary arteries without surgery. It is a relatively simple procedure that does not require general anesthesia. Most patients remain in the hospital only a day or two and can resume their normal activities within a few days.
  • Coronary Intervention - Stents: A stent is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in a narrowed artery through a catheter to help improve blood flow to your heart. The stent permanently holds the passageway open and helps reduce the rate of restenosis, renarrowing of the artery. After the stent placement, you may need to stay in the hospital up to to five days and temporarily take anticoagulant medication to help prevent blood clots.
  • Coronary Intervention - Atherectomy: Atherectomy is like balloon angioplasty in many ways, except that instead of a balloon, the catheter carries a tiny drill or a cutter at the tip. The device shaves off bits of plaque and stores them in a collection chamber. These bits are then removed from the body when the catheter is withdrawn. This is most useful when the plaque is large or hardened.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): TEE is a test that gives your doctor images of your heart. It is done from inside your esophagus (food pipe). Because the esophagus lies just behind the heart, TEE gives clearer pictures than standard echocardiography taken from outside the chest. During TEE, harmless sound waves bounce (echo) off your heart. These sound waves create images of your heart on a video screen. The images help your doctor identify problems such as heart infection or disease, or problems with your heart's walls or valves.

PFO Closure Device: A Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a small flap valve defect between the right and left atrium. A PFO closure is performed using catheters in the heart catheterization laboratory.

Tilt Table Test/HUTT: This is a simple test that helps the doctor pinpoint the cause of your fainting. It checks how changes in body position can affect your blood pressure. To do this, you are placed on a table that is tilted upward. The test tries to recreate fainting symptoms while your blood pressure and heart rate are monitored. 

AAA Stent Graft: This type of stent grafting is a procedure where the stent graft is placed inside a diseased vessel without surgically opening the tissue surrounding the diseased vessel. The stent graft, therefore, excludes the aneurysm from the normal blood flow.

Cardioversion: Cardioversion is a procedure to restore the heart's normal rhythm. You will have the procedure in a hospital. It's often done on an outpatient (same day) basis. During the procedure, you'll be given medication to keep you free from pain. Then the doctor gives you a brief electric shock. This helps your heartbeat become normal again. In most cases, you can go home the same day as the procedure.