A Look Inside the Cath Lab

Learn more about The Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital’s cath lab capabilities.

If your knowledge of heart disease and treatment comes primarily from medical shows on TV, don’t worry. You’re not alone in not understanding the mysteries of the human heart. At The Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital, we specialize in non-invasive ways to diagnose and treat heart conditions. The cath lab helps us better serve you.

What is a cath lab?
The cath lab is how we refer to the area of the hospital and team that performs cardiac catheterization. The National Heart Lung and Blood institute describes cardiac catheterization as a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. The cath lab is where you go to have specialized, non-invasive procedures done to diagnose and treat problems with your heart. There, doctors have better capability to find out what’s wrong and help treat it.

How does cardiac catheterization work?
During cardiac catheterization, a very narrow, soft, flexible plastic tube called a catheter is threaded into the femoral artery from an insertion at the groin. You are awake during this process, but should feel little to no pain or discomfort. The catheter is guided to the heart using x-ray imaging.

What is cardiac catheterization used to diagnose and treat?
Sometimes the cath lab is used to diagnose heart conditions. Other times it is actually used to perform treatments that help repair the heart, such as angioplasty. During this procedure, a tiny un-inflated balloon is inserted via the catheterization. When it reaches the right area of the heart,  the balloon is slowly inflated. This flattens the plaque against the artery wall and widens the artery opening, allowing blood to again flow at a normal or better rate. Click here for a full list of procedures.

Learn more about the heart in our online Health Library today. To find out more about our services and capabilities at the Heart Institute at Oak Hill Hospital, give us a call at 352-596-6632 in Hernando or 352-628-6441 in Citrus.

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