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Cardiac Cath Lab

A cardiac catheterization lab, also known as a “cardiac cath lab,” is a special hospital room where doctors perform minimally invasive tests and procedures to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. The procedures performed in a cardiac cath lab almost always involve tiny, flexible tubes, called catheters, which can be use instead of surgery, to access the heart and blood vessels. A cath lab has special imaging equipment used to see the arteries and check how well blood is flowing to and from the heart. This information helps the care team to diagnose and treat blockages and other problems in the arteries.

Interventional cardiologists are heart doctors who specialize in treating cardiovascular disease and who have had one to two years of education and training specifically in the use of catheters to perform cardiovascular procedures. These procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting, are performed by guiding tools through the body’s arteries. For many patients, these minimally invasive interventional procedures are an appropriate alternative to surgery.

Cath lab nurses and technologists are also important members of the care team during interventional procedures in the cath lab. These nurses are closely involved in your care from the time you arrive for your procedure, while technologists assist the interventional cardiologist with the procedure. Together, the cath lab nurses and technologists monitor your condition to identify changes that may need immediate attention, watch the cath lab monitors that display your heart rhythm and rate, notify the physician if they observe changes.