Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories
Our team of cardiologists, technicians and nurses diagnose and treat patients in our state-of-the-art catheterization labs. We use the latest equipment to obtain outstanding images, enabling us to get a more accurate and detailed view of the heart.
Our excellent treatment outcomes for angioplasty, coronary stenting, restenosis (recurrence of blockage) and event-free survival exceed national benchmarks.
Cardiac catheterization is the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart to diagnose and treat heart problems in the coronary arteries or in the chambers and valves of the heart.
This procedure helps doctors treat heart disease by measuring vital information about the heart, blood pressure, blood oxygenation, level of artery blockage and the functioning of the heart muscle and valves.
Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty
Coronary angiography involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through your arm or groin. Using real-time imaging guidance, the doctor can see the inserted catheter on a computer screen and guide it to the heart.
He or she will also inject contrast material through the catheter and into your coronary arteries, which allows them to be viewed in greater detail on the monitor by creating a picture of the coronary tree. This frequently shows blockages that require treatment.
We use cardiac catheterization to treat one of the most common forms of heart disease: atherosclerosis, which occurs when a fatty substance called plaque builds up and narrows the coronary arteries. This reduces blood flow to the heart and causes heart attacks.
To diagnose heart disease like atherosclerosis, our cardiologists perform coronary catheterization procedures, such as coronary angiography, on an outpatient basis, usually in just a few hours.
If your arteries show important narrowing during the diagnostic procedure, your doctor may treat your condition using coronary angioplasty/stenting to unblock the arteries. During this procedure, a doctor places a small tube—or a stent—within the narrowed artery and then expands it to open the artery, increasing blood flow.
Alternatively, you may need to be referred for coronary bypass surgery, or you may be treated with medication, depending on your unique circumstances.
In addition to coronary and valvular cardiac catheterizations, we diagnose and treat the following complex cardiac heartbeat irregularities (arrhythmias) in our Electrophysiology Lab:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial Flutter
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
At the tip of these catheters are electrodes, which are small pieces of metal that conduct electricity and evaluate your heart's electrical activity. If we detect an abnormal heart rhythm, we can also correct it at the same time by implanting a cardiac device, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator, or by performing a nonsurgical procedure known as cardiac ablation therapy.
Correcting Heart Defects
Another area of our expertise is the closure of various defects between the left and right atria, the upper chambers through which blood enters the heart. Previously, patients with these defects would undergo open-heart surgery to create the closure. But today, with sophisticated echocardiographic and X-ray imaging, we can close the defects through catheterization procedures.
About the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence
At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, our heart specialists deliver compassionate patient care using leading-edge procedures, to patients living throughout the San Francisco East Bay area. While our cardiac services are located in Berkeley and Oakland, patients come to our heart center from Hayward, Pleasanton, Lafayette, and other East Bay communities as well as from greater California and the United States to seek the best cardiac hospital care available. Our experienced team of top heart and cardiovascular specialists strive to work with each patient to identify the best treatment options for heart and vascular conditions. Whether you need a top heart surgeon (or specialist), a cardiac specialist, a vascular or thoracic surgeon, or one of our best-in-class cardiothoracic specialists - our doctors, nurses and technologists will work with you to strive for the best cardiovascular care for your unique needs. We strive to be the best cardiac hospital not just in the San Francisco East Bay but for every patient who enters our heart center, whether they come from Oakland, Berkeley, or beyond the Bay Area.
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