Preparing for a Procedure
Since WakeMed's first open heart surgery in 1968, our expertise has continually grown - both in the operating room and in caring for the needs of patients. Today, more than 27,900 total procedures are performed each year with an outstanding rate of success, making us the busiest heart center in North Carolina.
27,900 procedures/year - Busiest heart center in North Carolina
- 900 cardiac surgeries/year
- 11,120 diagnostic and interventional catheterizations
- 55 minute average door-to-balloon time for Code STEMIs
- 115 Invasive cardiology staff members to support patients and cardiologists
- 641 AICD implants
- 470 Pacemaker implants
- 50 active, cardiovascular research projects
- Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center since 2006
- First U.S. hospital to offer transradial intervention
Cardiac Catheterization is used to identify heart conditions, including hereditary heart disease, narrowing of the heart valves and valve failure. By inserting a long, thin tube through a large blood vessel, the cardiologist can assess the condition on the inside of the heart and track the blood's flow through the heart and arteries.
Cardiologists perform cardiac catheterizations (caths) to evaluate blood flow to the heart and the heart's pumping ability. Caths can also be used for angioplasty to open blocked arteries and to place stents to keep arteries open.
Angioplasty is a treatment used to open blocked arteries and reduce painful symptoms such as angina. A catheter is inserted into the artery and a balloon on the tip is inflated to open the path for better blood flow. Frequently, this procedure will also include inserting one or more stents - small metal coils - to keep the arteries open. Other treatment catheters such as lasers or vacuum-type devices may also be used to remove the blockages.
Patients who have stents may experience a re-narrowing within the vessel at the stented site called Restenosis. Restenosis is a type of scar tissue that forms over the stent and, therefore, narrows the artery. To prevent the reoccurrence of Restenosis, a relatively new procedure called Intravascular Brachytherapy is performed. Using therapeutic doses of radiation from inside the blood vessel, the scar tissue growth is stopped.
The electrical properties of your heart's rhythm are examined in our Electrophysiology Study lab. These studies help the physician determine whether you are at risk for potentially dangerous heart rhythm disorders.
Otherwise known as RF Ablation, your doctor eliminates abnormal and potentially lethal heart rhythms by using radiofrequency energy.
Patients with abnormally slow heart rates, "sick" conduction or lethal electrial disturbances in rhythm through the heart may require surgically placed pacemakers or defibrillators. Pacemakers help the heart maintain its pumping rate. Defibrillators correct the electrical rhythms of the heart. Resynchronization or biventricular pacing involves pacing both sides of the heart to improve blood flow to the body.
The Cardiovascular Testing department provides your doctor with more information about your heart's condition in a non-invasive manner. Tests performed in the Cardiovascular Testing Department may include stress tests on treadmills, echocardiographs, peripheral vascular exams, renal ultrasounds, transcranial dopplers, holter monitoring, electrocardiographs and nuclear SPECT imaging.
Peripheral Vascular Diagnosis and Treatment
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) refers to the narrowing of blood vessels, outside the heart and brain, from fatty deposits that build up inside the lining of the vessels. These vessels include ones in the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. Techniques used to diagnose PVD include a medical history, physical exam, ultrasound, X-ray angiography and magnetic resonance imaging angiography. Carotid angioplasty is a treatment option that uses balloons and/or stents to open a narrowed artery. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the plaque that caused the artery to narrow.