Our cardiologists can also manage your cardiac care in a hospital setting. Our patients take comfort in knowing that one of our cardiologists will continue to oversee their care in the hospital. Our cardiologists and our interventional cardiologist and electrophysiologist also offer testing and cardiology procedures that are performed in a hospital setting, including:
Electrophysiologic Testing and Radio Frequency Ablation
Electrophysiologic studies and ablation are minimally-invasive procedures that are generally less invasive than surgery. They are commonly-used treatments for atrial fibrillation as well as other cardiac arrhythmias. Small ports or incisions are made in the groin and thin, flexible wires, called catheters, are inserted and threaded to the heart. Our electrophysiologist can then assess the electrical system of the heart and look for abnormal arrhythmias. The electrical system can then be “mapped” to guide ablation therapy and cure arrhythmias.
Cardiac catheterization is used to examine the coronary arteries, confirm that the heart valves are functioning properly, or detect the presence of structural heart defects, both congenital (inherited) or acquired.
A catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in the arm or groin and guided to the heart. Once the catheter is in place, the interventional cardiologist can measure blood pressure, take blood samples, and inject a dye into your coronary arteries or other vessels to evaluate how well blood flows through the arteries and heart chambers. The dye allows the interventional cardiologist to easily see how blood flows through the vessels and determine whether the arteries are narrowed or blocked and if the valves are working properly. This procedure is commonly used to determine whether a patient needs angioplasty, valve repair or replacement, or coronary bypass surgery.
Angioplasty and Stenting
A procedure by which a long, thin, flexible tube is inserted through a blood vessel in the leg. The interventional cardiologist will then guide it through the vessel to the heart where there is a narrowed or blocked vessel. A small balloon will then be inflated at the tip of the catheter to open the artery and restore blood flow to the heart. Many patients who have angioplasty also will receive a small metal mesh cylinder called a stent, which helps keep the vessel open once the balloon is removed.
A procedure by which an abnormally fast heart rate or cardiac arrhythmia is converted to a normal rhythm using electricity or drugs. An electrical cardioversion is performed in a hospital setting. A cardiologist, a nurse and/or an anesthesiologist are present to monitor your breathing, blood pressure and heart rhythm. Special cardioversion pads are placed on your chest and back (or alternatively, both pads can be placed on the front of the chest). The pads are connected to an external defibrillator by a cable. The defibrillator allows the medical team to continuously monitor your heart rhythm and to deliver the electrical pulses necessary to restore your heart's normal rhythm.
Pacemakers may be inserted into patients with symptoms resulting from excessively slow heart rates or blocked electrical signals in the heart. Pacemakers correct this problem by electronically stimulating the heart muscle to contract at a normal heart rate. Our electrophysiologist can implant pacemakers, and one of our pacemaker specialists will meet with patients with pacemakers for follow-up and monitoring.
Defibrillators are placed into people at risk for life-threatening rhythm disturbances. These devices initially attempt to pace the heart out of the life- threatening rhythm disturbance, or, if needed, shock the heart back to a normal rhythm. Our team arranges defibrillator implants and meets with patients with defibrillators for follow-up and monitoring. We also evaluate heart rhythm disturbances by monitoring the rhythm of a patient’s heart for 24 to 48 hours by a holter monitor, or for several weeks by a cardiac event recorder.