Cardiac catheterization is the “gold standard” test that cardiologists use to diagnose coronary artery disease, birth defects or defective heart valves. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory is one of the most active labs in the state.
How is a Cardiac Catheterization performed?
Cardiac catheterization, also known as an angiogram, is used to look at blood flow to the heart. It allows doctors to view live videos of a patient's heart and nearby arteries. This digital imaging helps doctors learn if blood vessels, valves and chambers are working properly.
Most cardiac catheterizations are done as same-day, outpatient procedures, meaning that you will not have to sleep at the hospital. You will be awake during the procedure, but will be sedated. A thin tube, called a catheter, will be threaded through an incision in your leg into the artery leading to your heart. A dye is then injected into the catheter , which illuminates the heart and its vessels on an X-ray machine. After the test is completed, the catheter will be removed and you'll recuperate at the hospital for about three hours.
What is an Emergency Angioplasty?
Patients having a heart attack are brought to the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory to have their arteries opened through emergency angioplasty. During the procedure, a balloon is inserted into the blocked artery through a catheter. The balloon is then inflated and deflated to clear the obstructions, and mesh tubes, or stents, are inserted to keep the artery open.
The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory is on the second floor of the hospital. For more information, call 908-685-2402.