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Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath) is a common procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Through a small incision in the groin area or the wrist, cardiologists guide a catheter, which is a thin tube, through the blood vessels and use a range of diagnostic tools and treatment methods to address areas of concern.

The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano features four dedicated cardiac cath labs, which offer comprehensive services. Last year, the hospital performed more than 5,000 cardiac cath procedures.

Common Conditions Treated in the Cath Lab

“The most common condition we see in the cath lab is coronary artery disease,” said Srini Potluri, MD, medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

Coronary artery disease includes:

  • Stable angina, episodes of chest pain that are typically predictable and manageable

Acute coronary syndrome includes:

  • Unstable angina, unexpected chest pain that is an emergency condition
  • Non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), a type of heart attack caused by a partially blocked artery in the heart
  • ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage in the heart

In addition to coronary artery disease, other structural issues in the heart and some valve conditions may be treated in the cath lab. Outside of the heart, catheterization may be used to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD), as well as blockages in the arteries of the neck (carotid arteries) or arteries near the kidneys (renal arteries).

Diagnosis and Treatment in the Cath Lab

When blockages in the heart or the other blood vessels are suspected, the cath lab offers diagnostic procedures to identify problem areas. Advanced imaging services, including Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fractional flow reserve (FFR), help assess the severity of blockages. If a cardiovascular condition needing intervention is detected, numerous treatment options are available.

Procedures conducted in the cath lab to diagnose your condition may include:

  • Coronary, carotid, renal, peripheral and other forms of angiography
  • Coronary anatomy and physiology assessment with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), optical coherence tomography (OCT), or fractional flow reserve (FFR)
  • Endomyocardial biopsy
  • Evaluation of complex valvular disease
  • Left and right heart hemodynamic assessment
  • Constriction and restriction studies

Procedures conducted in the cath lab to treat or manage your condition may include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting to treat coronary artery disease
  • Angioplasty and stenting for peripheral artery disease (PAD) affecting the legs or kidneys
  • Balloon dilation and stent placement to treat coarctation of the aorta
  • Balloon valvulopasty and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to treat aortic valve stenosis and balloon valvuloplasty to treat mitral valve stenosis
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting
  • Chronic total occlusion (CTO) intervention
  • Closure of periprosthetic valve leaks
  • Clot removal with aspiration device (thrombectomy)
  • Treatment to repair a leaking mitral valve
  • Nonsurgical closure of ostium secundum atrial septal defect (ASD) or patent foramen ovale
  • Percutaneous mitral valve replacement and repair, a minimally invasive procedure to treat mitral valve disease
  • Plaque removal with a rotating device (atherectomy)
  • Pulmonary artery angioplasty to open lung arteries blocked with chronic clots and help improve pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary vein stenting to treat veins blocked after an ablation procedure
  • Robotic coronary angioplasty and stenting
  • Septal ablation to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Transcatheter insertion of coil or occluder to treat patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) to treat mitral regurgitation
  • Transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (TPVR) for congenital heart problems with the pulmonary valve
  • Percutaneous ventricular assist devices (VADs)

Advanced Cardiac Cath Services

As new devices and technologies emerge, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano is advancing cardiac cath lab capabilities through dedicated care programs. The hospital is working to expand new technology in coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI. Services include a complex/high-risk PCI program, hybrid procedures featuring both surgery and PCI, and robotic PCI procedures.

“In robotic PCI, we’re trying to integrate the precision of the robot into stenting,” Dr. Potluri said. “We are early in the development of the technology, but it has shown to improve accuracy and precision in the placement of stents. It’s a field evolving rapidly.”

Several clinical trials​ also are available in the area of cardiac cath. Through investments in new technology and ongoing research, the hospital often offers advanced options for those with conditions that cannot be treated in every hospital.

“We have the ability to treat any aspect of coronary artery disease,” Dr. Potluri said. “We may do procedures that no one else does through our commitment to innovation, research and advanced imaging, and we have the capabilities to do these complex procedures on a routine basis.”

More About the Cath Lab

Learn more about how we diagnosis and treat heart conditions in the cardiac catheterization lab​ at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

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