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Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Services

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the US. Our highly skilled cardiac team is dedicated to meeting the cardiac needs of our patients and providing recovery and rehabilitation close to home.

The Cardiac Cath Lab offers the latest in technology and expertise in cardiac related procedures:

  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Temporary/Permanent Pacemakers
  • Bypass Graft Study
  • Peripheral Stents and Angioplasty
  • Interventional Radiology Procedures
  • Carotids and Cerebral Arteriograms
  • Renal Angiogram and Angioplasty

All procedures require a physician referral and appointments are made through a physician referral by calling (386) 917-5196.

Some of the latest technology includes:

  • Hemodynamics: Hemodynamic Values (reports showing precise measuring and monitoring pressure in the heart chambers and arteries) are PC accessible by cardiologist. Patient reports can be viewed and re-recorded, view calculations for Pulmonic Flow, Mitral Value, Aortic Value, Tricuspid, FICK and Thermo Dilution. Physician off-site dictation through customized PC template.
  • Physician/PC Cath Lab Connection: Instant physician access to patient's Cath Lab history and status, lab studies and detailed recount of patient procedures.
  • MUSE Upgrade: More memory and storage for EKG, cath lab reports and cardiac histories. Soon we will transmit EKGs to/from EMS in the field to/from the ER. Patient’s physician from any PC can review same images.
  • PACS Utilizing New Technology: Patient films at physician’s fingertips compatible with any PC.

For more information about the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, please call (386) 917-5492 or (386) 917-5471.The Cath Lab has bilingual staff for caring service and safety to our patients.

Your Questions

What is a Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic procedure that involves the insertion and passage of small plastic tubes (catheters) into arteries and veins. These catheters are positioned in the heart to measure heart pressure and to obtain x-ray pictures of the coronary arteries and cardiac chambers.

Why Do I Need Catheterization?

A heart catheterization provides more accurate and detailed information about the heart’s function than other diagnostic tests. It allows the physician to look inside your heart and blood vessels while the heart is beating. A dye is injected through the catheter which outlines the heart’s chambers on a monitor. This picture enables the physician to determine how well your heart is functioning, and if there are any blockages in blood vessels.

The information obtained during the test helps doctors diagnose the problem accurately and enables them to choose the most effective treatment.

How Do I Prepare for the Catheterization?

Before your cardiac catheterization is performed, your doctor or nurse will explain what to expect, how to prepare and the risks and benefits of the procedure. Make sure to express your questions and concerns for further information.

  • All procedures must be physician referred and appointments are scheduled through your physician’s office.
  • You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight.
  • Make arrangements for someone to drive you home after the procedure.
  • Pack a small bag in case you need to stay overnight in the hospital. You may wish to include slippers, a toothbrush and toiletries.
  • Bring a list of all medications (exact names and dosages) you are currently taking.
  • Be sure to tell the doctor or nurse if you have medication allergies, have had an allergic reaction to x-ray dye (contrast), iodine or seafood, or if you have a history of bleeding problems.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant. Many times the cardiac catheterization can be postponed until after the birth of your baby.
  • For your comfort, empty your bladder as completely as possible before the procedure starts.
  • Several routine lab tests will be performed, including an ECG and blood tests.
  • Generally, you will be permitted to wear your dentures, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

Is Catheterization Safe?

Cardiac catheterization is an invasive procedure that requires the insertion of a catheter into the body. It therefore has some risk. The risk is small, however, and the procedure is considered relatively safe.

Most complications associated with catheterization are minor and of no long-term consequence. These include nausea, vomiting, allergic skin rash (hives) and heartbeat irregularity. The risks associated with cardiac catherization are fairly low and in most cases, outweigh the benefits of your heart condition. Some of the more serious risks include:

  • Clotting or bleeding
  • Emergency bypass surgery
  • Minor tearing or cracking of the artery lining
  • Heart attack, stroke or death

Because there is some risk involved, you will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to go ahead with the procedure. Speak with your physician to learn more about your particular risks.

What Can I Expect During the Catheterization?

The Cath Lab Team

The Cath lab team generally includes a cardiologist, an assistant, a nurse and one or two technicians. The team wears sterile gowns, gloves and sometimes masks. It can take up to 30 minutes to prepare for the procedure once you are in the lab.

The Cath Lab

Cardiac catheterization is performed in a specially equipped x-ray room called a cardiac catherization laboratory, or simply “cath lab.” The cath lab may feel cold, but you’ll be covered and the nurse can bring you a blanket. The patch of skin where the catheter will be inserted is the only area exposed. Patients lie comfortably on an x-ray table with a large camera above it and monitors close by. The equipment in the cath lab also includes heart monitors and various instruments and devices.

The Procedure

Cardiac catheterization is not painful. A local anesthetic is injected into the skin with a tiny needle to numb the area. To help you relax, you will be given a sedative, but you will remain awake during the procedure. A small incision is made in the skin and a needle is used to puncture the blood vessel (vein or artery) into which the catheter will be inserted.

A small intravenous needle (IV line) will be inserted into a vein in your arm. This line allows medications to be injected directly into the vein, if needed.

After the catheter is inserted into the blood vessel, it is slowly advanced toward the heart. The doctor and team can follow its progress on a monitor. The catheter allows the cardiologist to assess the heart’s pumping function and estimate the severity of valve and artery defects. The pressure waves are displayed on monitor screens and can be recorded on special tracing paper.

Specific Procedures During a Catheterization

During a catheterization, a physician may use any one of these procedures to better diagnose any cardiovascular injuries you may be having.

  • Coronary Angiogram: Specially shaped catheters are inserted, one after another and are directed towards the openings of the coronary arteries. Once the dye is injected into the catheters in each coronary artery, an x-ray camera takes pictures. These pictures help to detect areas of narrowing (blockages) and assess their severity.
  • Left Ventriculogram: A special catheter is directed into the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) and dye is injected under pressure into the ventricle. A series of pictures is obtained, giving a detailed view of the left ventricle during its pumping action.

In patients with a leaky valve or a hole in the heart, the injection of the dye inside the heart shows abnormal flow of the dye going in the “wrong” direction.

Other procedures, such as carotid, cerebral and peripheral angiograms may be performed. The physician may direct the catheter to the affected area of concern, thus providing a diagnosis of possible treatment.

Tilting the camera allows multiple shots to be taken at various angles. This allows a more detailed study of the coronary arteries and heart chambers.

What Happens After the Catheterization?

After your procedure, you will be transported to the recovery area. Our staff will encourage you to drink plenty of liquids to flush the dye out of your body. Most patients are able to eat soon after their procedure.

Tips for Home

Make sure you make arrangements ahead of time for a family member or friend to drive you home after the procedure. Most patients can resume their daily routines after one or two days. Avoid lifting heavy objects or pushing yourself too hard, especially during the first few days. Here are a few other guidelines:

  • Limit your activity during the first 24 hours after returning home.
  • Leave the dressing on the area where the catheter was inserted until the day after the procedure.
  • A bruise or small lump under the skin at the insertion site is common and generally takes three to four weeks to disappear.
  • Call your doctor if the insertion site begins to bleed, the bruising or swelling increases, or the leg (or arm) in which the catheters were inserted feels cold or numb.
  • Call your doctor if the insertion site becomes painful or warm to the touch, or you develop a fever of 100 degrees.
  • Ask your doctor when you can return to your normal activities, and whether there are any specific restrictions.
  • Clarify with your doctor about medications, which ones to continue and which ones to stop.

What’s Next?

The next step is determined by a number of factors including your heart condition, the severity of your symptoms and the results of the various diagnostic tests including the cardiac catherization. If the problem is not serious, your doctor may simply adjust or prescribe medications. There are a variety of medications available to treat heart disease and your doctor will prescribe the medication(s) best for you. While medications are helpful in reducing symptoms and improving your quality of life, keep in mind they are not a “cure” for the problem.

If you have a narrowed artery, your physician will recommend a coronary or peripheral angioplasty, where a tiny balloon is inflated in the artery. Heart surgery may be advised to create bypasses around clogged arteries, or to correct defective valves.

Your doctor will decide which treatment option is best for you. Follow your doctor’s instructions as directed, and report any symptoms and side effects.

Taking Care of Your Heart

No matter which treatment your doctor recommends, it is important that you make some changes in your lifestyle. This will help eliminate certain factors (such as high cholesterol and smoking) that can lead to the continuing build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries.

  • Enjoy a diet low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Lose extra weight and keep it off.
  • Exercise regularly (consult your doctor before starting an exercise program, or call the Cardiopulmonary Wellness Center at (386) 917-5125.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control.
  • Reduce excess tension and stress.
  • If you smoke, quit!

Additional Cath Lab Procedures

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) is a condition where the arteries in the leg(s) clog. Patients suffering from PVD feel a burning, discomfort or pain in the leg(s) when walking. If discovered early, this condition is very treatable. Cath lab physicians at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial can detect and surgically treat PVD. If you think you may have any symptoms, contact your physician. You may also call (386) 917-5420 to find out when the next Leg Alert PVD Screening will be held at the hospital.

Cardiac Pacemakers

Pacemakers have the ability to “sense” how fast your heart is beating and can make adjustments in the heart rate when needed. Cath lab physicians at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial can implant cardiac pacemakers while patients are consciously sedated instead of being placed under general anesthesia. Patients needing this procedure can be in and out of the hospital in less than 1 day, helping to reduce complications and lower the overall cost of the procedure.

Thank you for choosing Florida Hospital Fish Memorial for your heart care. You’ve selected a highly skilled cardiac team who is dedicated to providing you with the best cardiac care. Your heart is in good hands with us.