Catheterization & Electrophysiology
When it comes to matters of the heart, there's nothing like experience. For more than 40 years, the WakeMed Heart Center has provided the latest technology, demonstrated patient safety measures and outstanding care to all of our patients. But, it is your well being that matters to us. We hope this guide will prepare you for your procedure in the WakeMed Heart Center.
What is an Invasive Procedure?
The WakeMed Heart Center performs several types of invasive procedures in the heart as well as in other arteries within the body.
Cardiac Catheterization is a test where a long thin tube, called a catheter, is placed in an artery in the groin, wrist or arm. This catheter is then guided to the coronary arteries, which are the arteries on the heart muscle. Using X-ray equipment, a contrast dye is injected allowing your doctor to see blockages or narrowed places in the coronary arteries, and to measure how well your heart is working. This information helps your doctor decide the best treatment for you. If there are blockages, angioplasty is done to open the blocked artery and a stent (a small metal device that works as a scaffold within the artery) may be inserted to keep the artery open. Sometimes several blockages may be found in the arteries and coronary artery bypass surgery may be required.
Learn more about Cardiac Catheterization.
Peripheral Vascular procedures open narrowed arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and kidneys that are blocked by fatty deposits that build up inside the lining of the arteries. Carotid angioplasty is a treatment option that uses balloons and/or stents to open narrowed carotid arteries in the neck to help prevent stroke. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove these fatty deposits.
Electrophysiology Studies are invasive procedures that examine the electrical properties of the heart's rhythm to help the cardiologist determine whether a patient is at-risk for a potentially dangerous heart rhythm disorder. Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation is one form of treatment to eliminate abnormal heart rhythms. Pacemakers or Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators may be used to treat a slow heart rate or potentially dangerous heart rhythm. Pacemakers help the heart maintain its pumping rate. Defibrillators correct the electrical rhythm within the heart.