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Cardiac Treatments and Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization or Arteriography

Cardiac Catheterization (Coronary Arteriography)

Mapping of the coronary arteries is done using a procedure called cardiac catheterization. A doctor guides a thin plastic tube (called a catheter) through an artery in the arm or leg and leads it into the coronary arteries. Then, the doctor injects a liquid dye through the catheter. The dye is visible in X-rays which record the course of the dye as it flows through the arteries. By mapping the dye's flow, the doctor identifies blocked areas. Once the mapping is done, the doctor can decide the best course of action.

-- Many tests for diagnosing and treating coronary artery disease (angiography and electrophysiology studies) are performed during a process called cardiac catheterization. These tests are done in the hospital's cardiac catheterization labs. They are administered by our specially trained cardiologists.

About the procedure: During the procedure, cardiologists thread a long, thin tube (catheter) through an artery or vein in the leg, arm or wrist (transradial procedure) and into the heart. Dye is injected through the catheter to see the heart and its arteries. This test is called a coronary angiograph. In another type of test, electrical impulses may be sent through the catheter to study irregular heartbeats. These tests are called electrophysiology studies (EPS).

Prior to the procedure, the area where the catheter will be inserted is numbed using an anesthetic agent. The cardiologist locates the artery then gently threads the catheter through the artery and into the heart.

Once the catheter is in place, dye is injected and the catheterization team will take pictures of the coronary arteries (a coronary angiograph). This allows the cardiologist to see if there is blockage in the arteries and to determine the location of the blockage.

Transradial catheterization- Increasingly, specialists are using the transradial method to view the coronary arteries. This approach involves threading a small catheter through the radial artery of the wrist.

The transradial catheterization method has several benefits for the patient.

Radial artery access allows the patient to regain mobility faster after the procedure and has a lower risk of bleeding than the more traditional method of using an artery in the groin area. Not all patients are candidates for this procedure. The cardiologist will determine if the patient is able to undergo this type of catheterization.

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Cardiac Rehabilitation

The goal of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program is to provide cardiac patients with the education, experience and practical knowledge to return to full productive lives. This includes targeted exercise programming designed to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.  Our program includes monitored, personalized exercise classes, and educational experiences to help the patient control their disease and make the necessary changes to reduce the chances of repeat events.

Cardiac Rehabilitation can benefit those individuals with conditions or procedures such as:

  • angina pectoris
  • myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • valve repair or replacement
  • interventional procedures such as angioplasty and coronary stenting
  • post heart transplant patients
  • heart failure
  • arrhythmia
  • device implants, such as pacemakers or internal defibrillators
  • multiple cardiac risk factors (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and smoking)

Cardiac Rehab is divided into three phases.  Each phase is designed to provide you with the appropriate medical support and exercise training based on your own personal cardiac history.

Phase I:

The first phase of cardiac rehab begins in the hospital after a heart attack, heart surgery or other cardiac treatment.  This initial phase includes education about the event and new medications, and guidelines for home activities.  In some cases, it also includes small amounts of telemetry monitored exercise.

Phase II:

This phase begins two to six weeks after your cardiac event.  It includes continuous telemetry monitoring, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise divided into shorter segments on a variety of exercise equipment including treadmills, stationery bikes, rowers, and stair climbers.  All exercises are conducted at a safe and comfortable, yet effective, level for you.  Phase II also includes education on exercising safely and effectively, risk factor modification, dietary guidelines, and smoking cessation, as needed.

Phase III:

Cardiac rehab continues for as long as you like in Phase III.  This is a supervised aerobic and strength-building exercise class.  It provides medical supervision, including blood pressure and rhythm strip checks to monitor your cardiac health; and small group personal training to help you attain your health and fitness goals.  Risk factor education also continues in Phase III. 

What cardiac rehabilitation offers

  • A clinical evaluation for safe and optimal exercise prescription and goal-setting
  • Individualized exercise and activity program within a group setting
  • Monitoring and better control of:
    • Heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Blood oxygen levels
    • Cholesterol
    • Diabetes
  • Support and training to help you return to work or normal activities and manage your heart condition and other medical concerns
  • Opportunity to meet and share stories with other people like you

Benefits of cardiac rehabilitation

  • Regular physical exercise helps your heart and body get stronger and work more efficiently. It improves your energy level and lifts your spirits.
  • Regular exercise reduces your chances of future heart problems including heart attack.
  • Improves stamina and strength, which allows you to resume normal activities, including work, hobbies, and regular exercise.
  • Improves communication with your cardiologist, primary, or referring physician about your progress following your cardiac event.
  • Improves confidence and well-being

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Cardioversion

Cardioversion-- This procedure is done to convert an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) to a normal rhythm. The technique is most often done by sending electrical shocks to the heart through electrodes placed on the patient's chest.

Cardioversion can correct a heartbeat that's too fast (tachycardia) or irregular (fibrillation). It is usually used to treat people who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

Occasionally, cardiologists may perform cardioversion using only medications to restore the heart's rhythm. For most people, cardioversion quickly restores a normal heart rhythm.

About the procedure: Electric cardioversion is usually done on an outpatient basis and the patient will be asleep under sedation. The patient should not eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the procedure. Ask your doctor beforehand whether you should take any of your regular medications before the procedure.

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Vascular Rehabilitation

"Healthy Living from Head-to-Toe"

"If exercise were a pill, it would be the most prescribed medication of all time!" - Covert Bailey

Vascular Rehabilitation is a non-invasive exercise program that improves maximal walking distance in patients with claudication, pain in the legs with activity that subsides with rest.

This supervised exercise program is designed to increase pain-free walking distance in patients with lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The program uses a walk/rest interval training program to train the leg muscles to use oxygen more efficiently, therefore allowing patients to walk further without pain. Rehab combines exercise and comprehensive healthy lifestyle education for patients with PAD to enhance their overall cardiovascular health, promote functional independence, & improve quality of life.

Most patients with Claudication do not exercise or walk on their own as prescribed by most physicians. Vascular Rehab consists of a personalized exercise prescription that teaches and motivates a patient to walk at a level that will improve their pain free walking distance.

Program outline:

  • Supervised Exercise Program
  • Hourly exercise sessions 3 times/week
  • Individual exercise orientation & consultation
  • Individualized exercise prescription
  • Comprehensive Education
  • Outcome measurements

Vascular Rehabilitation is dedicated to improving the lives of people with intermittent claudication, one step at a time!

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