Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose, and sometimes treat, heart conditions. This nonsurgical method can be used to determine if you have heart disease, check your heart muscle function, or even expand narrowed arteries to improve blood flow to the heart.
Cardiac catheterization laboratories (cath labs) in Florida
There are a lot of tools we can use to look at your heart and help us understand what's happening inside of it.
Traditional imaging techniques, including ultrasounds, are really useful for this, but we take it one step further by offering cardiac catheterization. This valuable type of imaging lets doctors at HCA Florida Physicians' practices across the state look inside veins and arteries with extreme precision and accuracy. When you need this diagnostic test, our cardiac teams and catheterization specialists will work closely with your other doctors before and after your procedure. They'll also work closely with you and your family, because they know your support network is critical to your heart care.
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Our cardiac catheterization services
It's important to us that you understand why we recommend the procedure and agree with any treatment plans.
What is cardiac catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is an advanced form of heart screening and imaging. It can be used to diagnose and treat heart conditions. Some of the terms we may use when we talk about cardiac catheterization include:
- Angiography — the medical imaging specialty involved in looking at blood vessels and some other organs of the body, especially the arteries, veins and structures of the heart
- Angiogram — a test that uses X-rays and a contrast dye injected via a catheter to look at your blood vessels
- Arteriography — another name for angiography
- Catheterization — any test involving a catheter, which is simply a long, thin flexible tube
Where are cardiac catheterizations performed?
We offer angiograms and similar procedures at a hospital or surgical center in our partner network, HCA Florida Healthcare. If you are undergoing heart or vascular surgery and your cardiac catheterization procedure is involved, you may have this all done at one of our partner hospitals or surgical centers.
Your doctor will help find the location that is best and most convenient for you.
What happens before an angiogram?
Before your procedure, your cardiac team will talk to you about:
- How to prepare for an angiogram, including what you can and can't consume as well as medications you can take or should avoid
- What to expect during the angiogram, including the process of the procedure, the instruments we will use and in what instances we may perform intracoronary ultrasounds
- What to expect after an angiogram, including what will happen right after surgery and what you will need to do when you go home
- The risks of cardiac catheterization, including any complications or concerns that apply to your unique situation
What happens during an angiogram?
During an angiogram, we will insert the catheter into a blood vessel, such as those found in your upper thighs or arms. We thread it through that vessel and into your heart, allowing us to see what we need to see to make an accurate diagnosis.
What are cardiac catheterization treatments?
In addition to using heart catheters for diagnostics, we can use them as minimally invasive treatments in many cases. This means we can perform things like coronary and peripheral angioplasty — ways of opening narrowed arteries — with catheters. For these angioplasties, we are able to insert the stent and complete the procedure all without using traditional open-heart surgery.
We can also perform pacemaker lead extraction using catheter-guided lasers. When you need this procedure, using a catheter allows us to perform it more safely and allows your surgeon to quickly remove the lead with little risk to you.
Cardiac procedures like these offer you the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, including enabling you to heal and recover more quickly.