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Program Overview

The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory provides experienced and coordinated care to patients with a variety of cardiac problems. A five-bed holding room admits patients who are in need of urgent or emergency procedures without delay. A dedicated cardiac interventional unit is staffed by attending physicians, physician assistants and nurses familiar with the specific needs of patients undergoing catheterization. This setting fosters optimal patient education before and after the procedure. Patients learn about their specific disease, risk factors, treatment and prevention strategies, and necessary lifestyle changes.

Known for providing excellent care, the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory uses the latest technology and meticulous techniques to diagnose and treat cardiac disease. Our patients and their families appreciate our immediate service, ongoing communication with the primary care physician and cardiologist, and our focus on patient education.

Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Disease)

Coronary Artery Disease, or Heart Disease, occurs when a buildup of hard deposits or plaque clogs the arteries that supply blood to the face and front part of the brain. As a result, the arteries thicken and harden, slowing blood flow and increasing a patient's risk for stroke. Approximately one-third of the more than 600,000 strokes in the United States are the result of blockages in the carotid arteries.

Boston Medical Center has been a leader in the performance of primary angioplasty, the procedure to open blocked arteries in patients suffering from a heart attack. It has been shown that the faster the artery is opened and blood flow is restored to the heart muscle, the better the chance of recovery. The CVC's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory staff provides primary angioplasty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year to improve outcomes in heart attack victims, with a 90-minute “door to balloon” time.

Treatments

Several approaches are used to diagnose and treat heart disease prior to referring a patient to the CVC. An exercise stress test or echocardiogram may confirm the diagnosis of a specific disorder. Patients who have no symptoms, or very mild and stable symptoms, may be treated with medications only. However, patients are referred to the CVC for cardiac catheterization and coronary angiogram to assess the extent of the problem if their symptoms worsen or if they are severe. In patients with significant blockages in the coronary arteries, coronary angioplasty may be recommended. Alternatively, in patients with multiple blockages, coronary artery bypass surgery may be the procedure of choice.

Treatment Procedures

For patients who are candidates for coronary angioplasty, the CVC offers multiple types of procedures using the latest technology. The specific procedure recommended is determined by the type and location of each coronary artery blockage.

Balloon angioplasty

In balloon angioplasty, a catheter with a small balloon on its tip is inserted into the blockage site. Once there, the balloon is inflated in the artery to flatten or compress the plaque against the artery wall.

Stent placement

A stent is a small, mesh tube that is placed inside the blockage site via a catheter. The stent’s purpose is to hold the artery open and keep it from closing again. It becomes a permanent part of your artery.

Patients who experience re-narrowing within a previously placed stent may be required to undergo intravascular brachytherapy, which requires application of radiation to the affected part of the artery after the angioplasty or stent insertion.

Contact Us

Call (617) 638-8702 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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