Our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory provides for both emergency and elective angioplasty. Our affiliation with the CardioVascular Institute of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center means that our Cardiac Care services rank amongst the very best in the state. Our "door to balloon" times average under 65 minutes, with the Gold Standard for the industry being 90 minutes. We are renowned as a trendsetter in the cardiac field, using the radial artery in most of our cases. This allows our team to reach your heart quicker, reduces arterial bleeding, and leads to a quicker recovery time for you or your loved one.
Lawrence General Hospital was fully accredited in 2013 for cardiac catheterization and coronary intervention by Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence (ACE), an organization dedicated to ensuring adherence to the highest quality standards for cardiovascular and endovascular care. Lawrence General is the first hospital in New England, and first hospital in the nation without cardiac surgery on site, to achieve this distinction.
Cardiac Catheterization involves inserting a long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in your arm or upper thigh threaded to your heart. Contrast dye is injected into the tube and viewed on an x-ray to trace the movement of your blood through your arteries, revealing if plaque has narrowed or blocked your coronary arteries. Your Cardiologist will use these images to evaluate the heart and treat specific heart conditions. The procedure generally takes about 20-30 minutes. At the conclusion, all catheters and sheaths are removed, bleeding stopped, and a dressing is applied. You will be moved to a recovery area where you will rest for several hours or in some cases, overnight.
If the results indicate a need to perform an angioplasty or stenting, one of the Interventional Cardiologists will be notified. If all the criteria are met, the blocked area in your heart will be repaired in a procedure known as a PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention), also known as angioplasty and stenting. The stent is used to prevent the artery from closing up again.
Preparing for your Cardiac Catheterization
Prior to the Procedure
Your physician will order preparatory tests such as blood tests, urinalysis, chest x-ray, and EKG to insure your comfort and safety during the procedure.
Day of the Procedure
Do not eat or drink on the morning of the procedure. If your procedure is scheduled for later in the day, check with your physician to see if you can eat a light breakfast. Your Cardiologist will tell you what medications you may or may not take on the day of your procedure. Medication may be taken with a small amount of water. Do not take medications such a Coumadin (blood thinner) and Lasix (diuretic) and some Diabetes medications. It is important to review your medications with your physician prior to the procedure.
Please arrive 1–1½ hours prior to your procedure and check in at the Admitting Department located on the first floor just beyond the main entrance lobby. You will then proceed to the Short Stay Unit located on the first floor. There, our cardiac nursing staff will help you get ready for your procedure including:
- Verifying your medical history and all medications
- Taking your blood pressure, pulse and temperature
- Prepping the site your Cardiologist will use for the procedure
- Administering medication to relax you
- Taking additional blood work if needed
Once you are taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, your family will be directed to a waiting area. After your Cardiologist completes the procedure, the results will be reviewed with you and your family (with your permission) and will discuss next steps.
After the Procedure
When you are ready to be discharged, your Cardiologist will advise you on a plan of care and/or follow-up based on your results.