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Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ashtabula County. The gold standard for diagnosing heart disease is a diagnostic cardiac catheterization.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a nonsurgical outpatient imaging procedure that gathers information about cardiac muscle function and blockages. It allows physicians to diagnose arterial sclerosis (thickening of the arteries) and heart abnormalities, as well as ventricle and valve issues. In addition, physicians can also perform peripheral angiography, which looks for coronary artery disease in other parts of the body such as the arms, legs and abdomen. This information helps physicians determine the best option for effective treatment.

Cardiac catheterizations are performed to:

  • Confirm the presence of heart disease.
  • Determine the severity of heart disease.
  • Understand the cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and irregular heartbeats.
  • Assess a patient prior to heart surgery.

During the procedure, a thin, hollow tube (known as a catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the patient's arm, leg or neck. It is guided under x-ray to the patient's heart where a special dye is released, which allows the physician to take pictures of the beating heart and blood circulation. The dye reveals plaque buildup in the arteries. The catheter can also be used to measure the pressure exerted by the heart and oxygen levels.

The Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Catheterization Lab at ACMC

The Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Ashtabula County Medical Center is a diagnostic lab that follows the same clinical protocols as those in place at Cleveland Clinic, the No. 1 heart hospital in the United States*. Patients undergoing a cardiac catheterization at ACMC meet strict criteria, as defined by the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention, and the Ohio Department of Health.

With this state-of-the-art facility on-site, we can swiftly diagnose coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial and valve diseases, and other heart abnormalities. We also have the capability to perform peripheral angiography, which helps us look for arterial disease in other parts of the body such as the arms, legs and abdomen. The advanced technology uses less radiation and provides better images for physicians, which reduces the procedure time and leads to a quicker recovery time for most patients, while providing physicians with detailed information they need for diagnosing heart issues.

Cardiac catheterizations are performed by board-certified Cleveland Clinic cardiologists who practice full-time at ACMC.

Joining them is a support staff of ACMC technologists and nurses who are specially trained in caring for patients undergoing a cardiac catheterization. The technologist is an expert at utilizing the imaging system to obtain the best cardiac images to ensure the cardiologist has the information needed for an accurate clinical interpretation. The registered nurses have critical care backgrounds and are experts in the field of conscious sedation. Both are certified in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

*U.S. News & World Report best rankings