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Catheterization Laboratory at UT Health East Texas Cardiac Plaza

A catheterization laboratory or cath lab, is an examination room with diagnostic imaging equipment used to examine the arteries and chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found.

At UT Health East Texas Cardiac Plaza, recent renovations included an update to the cath lab. In the cath lab, cardiologists perform cardiac catheterization procedures. During this minimally invasive procedure, your cardiologist puts a very small, flexible, hollow tube (called a catheter) into a blood vessel in the groin, arm or neck. The catheter is then threaded through the blood vessel into the aorta and heart. Once the catheter is in place, several tests may be done. The tip of the catheter can be placed into various parts of the heart to measure pressure within the chambers or take blood samples to measure oxygen levels.

Your doctor can guide the catheter into the coronary arteries and inject contrast dye to check blood flow through them. (The coronary arteries are the vessels that carry blood to the heart muscle.) This is called coronary angiography.

These are some of the other procedures that may be done during or after a cardiac cath:

  • Angioplasty. In this procedure, your doctor can inflate a tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter. This presses any plaque buildup against the artery wall and improves blood flow through the artery.

  • Stent placement. In this procedure, your doctor expands a tiny metal mesh coil or tube at the end of the catheter inside an artery to keep it open.

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