At Danbury Hospital, patients benefit from access to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in one location. A dedicated team of doctors, nurses and technologists who specialize in cardiac catheterization and interventional procedures work together to provide complete care. At Danbury Hospital, the cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons work closely together. The doctors often review and discuss all available test results to offer a joint opinion to insure that each patient receives the best treatment for his or her particular problem.
The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory is staffed by a dedicated team of cardiologists, nurses and technologists. The procedure rooms have state of the art equipment to obtain the x-ray images and to monitor the patient in a comfortable atmosphere. The preparation and recovery area is also designed for the comfort and convenience of the patient and family.
Cardiac catheterization is a common invasive diagnostic test which evaluates the coronary arteries that provide blood to the heart, the pumping chambers and valves of the heart. A small puncture is made in an artery in the leg or arm and a cardiologist then threads a catheter or tube through the entry site and advances it up to the heart and the opening of the coronary arteries.
The most common reason for a cardiac catheterization is to evaluate blockages in the arteries of the heart. Through the use of x-rays and an injected contrast or dye, the cardiologist will obtain x-ray pictures of your coronary arteries and cardiac chambers and will also measure pressures in your heart. The angiograms (images) show the location and degree of narrowing in the artery.
These details help the cardiologist form a plan to treat these blockages. The number, location, and characteristics of the blockages will affect the decision about treatment.
The common treatments for coronary artery blockages are medication, interventional procedures such as angioplasty and stenting and coronary artery bypass surgery. Cardiac catheterization is also performed to evaluate the muscle function of the heart, to determine the severity of problems with the valves of the heart, to evaluate congenital heart diseases, and to help diagnoses other cardiopulmonary problems.
Specialized Diagnostic Procedures
For patients with symptoms and blockages of moderate severity, the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Danbury Hospital offers both intravascular ultrasound and intra-arterial flow studies that give additional detailed information about the severity of blockages and their effect on the blood flow to the heart. This allows us to tailor treatment to the needs of each individual patient.
Coronary Artery Intervention
If an angiogram confirms a blockage in an artery, angioplasty and stenting may be the treatment of choice. These procedures widen the channel where blood flows in an artery. This procedure is also done in the cardiac catheterization laboratory and is often performed with diagnostic catheterization during the same procedure. If a balloon or stent procedure is performed an overnight stay in the hospital is usually required.
In this procedure, a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the affected coronary artery. The balloon is inflated to push the plaque aside and open the artery.
In more than 80 percent of interventions today, a stent is used as a permanent scaffold to hold the artery open. Studies have shown that stenting makes the procedure safer and gives a better long term result. A stent is a flexible tube made of wire mesh. Depending on the length and location of blockage, more than one stent may be required. Some stents are drug-eluting, meaning they slowly release medication over a period of time. The medication reduces the amount of scar tissue that forms inside the artery and helps to prevent restenosis (a re-narrowing of the artery at the same site).
Intervention for Heart Attack
Almost all heart attacks are caused by a sudden complete blockage of a coronary artery. Coronary artery angioplasty and stenting has been shown to be the best treatment option for this problem. Danbury Hospital is committed to providing this standard of care for our patients and has a specialized, highly experienced team of doctors, nurses and technicians available 24/7 for emergency treatment of heart attacks.
Higher Risk Interventions
In some patients with blockages in multiple arteries or in patients with weakened heart muscle, the risk of angioplasty and stenting may be higher. At Danbury Hospital, specialized equipment is available to support and assist the heart during the procedure. This allows the procedure to be done more safely.
Procedures are also available to treat other heart “problems” Some congenital (present since birth) heart problems such as atrial septal defect (a hole connecting the two upper chambers of the heart) can be corrected in the cardiac catheterization laboratory and may require only an overnight stay in the hospital. Previously these defects required open heart surgery.
Another type of abnormal communication in the heart is a patent foramen ovale (PFO). In some patients, a PFO can be the cause of strokes and in this setting the PFO can be closed in a procedure similar to that for ASD.
Prior to your procedure, you will speak with a member of our staff who will prepare you with instructions and informational about your procedure.
For More Information
If you have questions about Cardiology, visit our patient and visitor information section, or ask your doctor about Danbury Hospital. For a doctor referral call us at 1-800-511-7821, or search our Find a Doctor online tool to find a doctor near you.
Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Mark Warshofsky, M.D.
Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program
Dr. Warshofsky is fellowship trained in interventional cardiology and cardiology. He focuses his expertise in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease on risk reduction, heart attack survival and long-term health for patients following cardiothoracic surgery.
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Procedures and Specialties
- Cardiac catheterization, including radial approach
- Angioplasty/stent/coronary interventions
- Rotational atherectomy
- Intravascular ultrasound
- Hemodynamic lesion assessment/Doppler flow wire
- Hemodynamic studies/pulmonary hypertension/vasodilators
- Endomyocardial biopsy
- Hemodynamic support
- Emergent treatment of patients with heart attack
“Our catheterization lab team is very accommodating. They offer a great experience for patients in a pleasant environment close to home. Each situation is unique based on the patient’s co-morbidities and lifestyle to their personality and preferences. It’s important to make it special for every patient.”
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