ST. LOUIS – During the height of the pandemic, we frequently saw patients suffering from significant heart conditions who delayed their care and avoided the hospital.
While hospitals are seeing these episodes less frequently now, much of the public is unaware that cardiac catheterization labs can successfully treat most heart ailments without the need for complex, open-heart surgery.
SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles is an example of a community hospital that provides patients with an array of cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology procedures, which are critical to treating heart attacks, addressing irregular heart rates, and implanting devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators.
Many of these treatments are minimally invasive, can lead to a reduced hospital stay, and in many cases performed as an outpatient procedure, and can accelerate recovery time for the patient. SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital collaborates with other area SSM Health hospitals that serve as “tertiary” care centers equipped to handle complex surgeries such as valve replacement and other open-heart procedures.
Cardiac catheterization is a special X-ray that allows your doctor to examine the heart and coronary arteries. You will be awake during the procedure, and it typically takes less than one hour.
During the procedure, your physician will insert a thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) into an artery in your arm or leg. The catheter is then passed through, toward your heart, with your doctor following its movement on a TV monitor. Once the catheter is in place, your doctor will inject dye (or contrast) to help pinpoint any problems with your coronary arteries. When the procedure is complete, your physician will remove the catheter, and a nurse or technician will apply pressure for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cardiac catheterization is usually performed in a hospital. Before your cardiac catheterization, your physician will arrange for you to have several routine tests, including an EKG, blood work and a chest X-ray.
Your doctor will also provide you with a few instructions to follow before your procedure. Be sure to follow these specific instructions to properly prepare for the procedure.
To learn more about the cardiac cath labs at SSM Health hospitals, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.
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