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Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory in Ventura County

Diagnosis & Treatment of Cardiac, Neurological & Vascular Diseases

Our Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory (also known as the Cath Lab) is equipped with highly specialized technology designed for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac, neurological, and vascular diseases. During procedures, a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in the groin, arm, or neck and advanced through blood vessels to reach the heart, brain, or other parts of the body. Catheterization is used to evaluate heart function, structure, and blood supply. If there are cardiac abnormalities, the physician and cath lab team can often perform an intervention, or procedure to fix the abnormality. Interventions commonly provided are angioplasty and stent placements (cardiac, cerebral, and peripheral vascular), placements of cardiac valves, and treatment of irregular cardiac rhythms.

Cath Lab Procedures

Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization

To find blockages and narrowing of the arteries around the heart, a cardiologist inserts a small tube called a catheter into an artery and guides the tube to the heart. Contrast dye is then injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries so that they can be visualized using x-ray imaging. A catheter can also be placed in a vein and guided to the heart to evaluate the pressures in all four heart chambers.

Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI)

A tiny balloon is placed across a narrowing of the artery and inflated to reduce the blockage. Sometimes a stent, a tiny, expandable mesh coil, is placed into the newly opened area that was blocked to help restore blood flow. To more completely evaluate a blockage, a physician might use advanced imaging technologies such as intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), which uses sound waves to evaluate blockages and the effectiveness of stents.

Electrophysiology (EP) Studies

During an electrophysiology study, the heart’s electrical flow and rhythm is monitored and analyzed from inside the heart using electrode catheters. An EP study is used to diagnose arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms.

Cardiac EP Ablation

If an irregular heart rhythm is identified during an EP study, a cardiac ablation procedure creates tiny scars in the heart to block the electrical signals that cause abnormal heart rhythms. The creation of computerized 3D images of the heart's anatomy helps pinpoint the origin of an irregular heart rhythm. This is called 3D Mapping and is done during every EP ablation procedure.

Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM)

CRM is the management of heart rhythms that are either too slow with pacemakers, or too fast with Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs). ICDs automatically convert dangerous cardiac rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in patients who are at risk for these arrhythmias. There are also special pacemakers and ICDs that also help to synchronize the action of the right and left sides of the heart in certain patients with congestive heart failure to help the heart pump more effectively. Use of these devices is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). A leadless pacemaker is a 90% smaller than a traditional pacemaker. It is implanted directly into the right ventricle of the heart using a catheter. The device regulates electrical problems and keeps the heart beating regularly.

Structural Heart Procedures

Interventional procedures that treat abnormalities in the heart structures include:

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for patients who have aortic valve stenosis
  • Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR) for patients who have mitral valve stenosis.
  • Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER) procedures including MitraClip to repair a leaky mitral valve
  • Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion procedures such as the WATCHMAN FLXTM procedure that closes the left atrial appendage, which reduces a patient's risk for stroke related to atrial fibrillation.
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure procedures to treat abnormal openings between the chambers of the heart

Neurovascular Procedures

Cerebral (brain) angiography diagnostic and interventional procedures to evaluate and treat acute stroke and chronic neurovascular abnormalities.

Peripheral Vascular Procedures

Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to diagnose, evaluate, and treat blockages in the blood vessels of the legs, arms, abdomen, and chest.

Interventional Radiology (IR) Procedures

Interventional Radiologists are physicians who specialize in using advanced imaging to treat a variety of conditions. IR procedures include treatment of blood clots in the legs and lungs, vertebral (spine) augmentation procedures, placement of invasive lines for administration of nutrition, medication, and chemotherapy, procedures to block blood flow to tumors and areas of irregular bleeding (embolization procedures).