Coronary and Peripheral Angiography
An angiogram is an x-ray image of arteries and veins which is created using a contrast “dye” to check for such conditions as blood vessel narrowing or enlargement, blockages and possible leakages. The exam is performed using a catheter, a long flexible tube that is gently guided through the blood vessels with the aid of x-ray images on a monitor, or can be non-invasive using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT scan). Angiograms are commonly used for assessing blood vessel health in and around the heart, brain, kidneys and in the legs. Cardiologists perform coronary angiograms to look for blockages or other abnormalities in blood vessels in the heart. This procedure involves cardiac catheterization - the use of a catheter which is usually placed in the artery through a puncture site in the groin or arm, and then gently guided into one of the two major coronary arteries. The cardiologist then injects an iodine-based contrast through the catheter and into the artery, which will be visible when x-rays are taken. The contrast highlights blood movement through the artery, and narrowing caused by blockages can be clearly discerned.
Peripheral angiograms use the same procedure with x-rays, dye and a catheter, but are instead performed to examine the vessels to the arms, legs, kidneys, or abdomen. In the legs, blockages causing interrupted blood flow can result in cramps during walking and reduce the healing ability of foot injuries or wounds such as sores or ulcers. Decreased blood flow can also cause legs to become pale or turn slightly blue, or result in colder limbs and decreased nail and hair growth.
Our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, or Cath Lab, provides state-of-the-art angiographic assessment of coronary artery anatomy and the flow of blood through the structures of the heart. The Cath Lab is ready 24/7 to assist a patient with life-threatening cardiac or peripheral vascular disease to quickly restore them to optimal health.
Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting
These procedures help manage of blockages in arteries to the heart, legs, kidneys, and carotid arteries to the brain. Angioplasty is generally performed from the artery in the groin or arm to gain access to the blockage requiring treatment. A balloon catheter is placed over a guide wire at the site of the blockage using x-ray guidance. Once positioned, the balloon is inflated, thereby pushing the atherosclerotic material up against the vessel wall. Often, a stent, which is a metal mesh device, is used as scaffolding for the arterial wall after angioplasty. Once deployed, the stent becomes encapsulated through the addition of new lining cells within days of the procedure. Stents have reduced the incidence of recurrent blockages after balloon angioplasty.