Bay Medical’s Heart Institute includes five cardiac catheterization labs that offer 24-hour emergency angioplasty for treatment of heart attack, cardiac stent placements, electrophysiology and several treatment for plaque build-up in the peripheral arteries (legs, renal and carotid). During a cath procedure, a small catheter is inserted into an artery through the arm or groin. A dye is then injected and live-action x-ray images are taken, allowing the physician to see any blockages or other problems.
This non-surgical procedure widens narrowed or blocked arteries. During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into a blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, opening the blockage and restoring blood flow. Sometimes, the physician will place a stent where the blockage was located to hold that portion of the blood vessel open.
Many patients who have coronary artery disease also have plaque build-up in other vessels of the body. In the cath lab, physicians at Bay Medical can use this same technology for widening the clogged vessels that lead to the legs and in the renal arteries that lead to the kidneys. In the carotid arteries that lead to the brain, plaque build-up is a major risk factor for stroke. In this delicate area, a special stent is used to open up this vessel that has embolic protection – a small basket-like device that is downstream from the stent to catch any debris from the procedure so that it does not travel up the blood stream and into the brain.
Bay Medical is the only area hospital offering electrophysiology studies (EP) in its extensive cardiac care program. EP studies are used for patients who suffer from heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmias).Technology at Bay Medical allows the cardiologist to develop a three-dimensional map of your heart to pinpoint the source of the arrhythmia. In some cases, a cardiac ablation can be performed where the cardiologist lightly scars the heart tissue to stop the misfiring electrical current that is the cause of the rhythm problem. In addition, cardiologists also use the cath lab for placement of pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.