|Cardiac Cath Lab and CT Scanning
Cardiac Cath Lab
Harford County residents have the latest technology
in diagnosing heart disease at the R. Walter and Beatrice Ward Cardiac
Catheterization Lab at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UM UCMC).
A cardiac cath procedure usually takes about 30 minutes
and is generally painless. The purpose of the procedure is to diagnose
patients who have various forms of heart disease.
The cath lab equipment allows the cardiologist to see
instant moving images of the heart. These images show the pumping function
of the heart and can identify blockages in the arteries that feed the
heart muscle. During the cardiac catheterization, a flexible, narrow
plastic tube called a catheter is guided into an artery in the upper
leg (groin), and is gently guided to the heart. A contrast media or x-ray
dye is injected into the catheter to reveal the blood flow through the
heart arteries. A series of live pictures or moving X-rays are taken
to see how effectively the heart is functioning as a pump and if the
blood is flowing correctly.
Michael Drossner, M.D., who has performed heart catheterizations
for the past 20 years, will head the cardiac catheterization team along
with UCH Cardiologist V.J. Nair, M.D. The team includes registered
nurses and radiologic technologists, all who are highly skilled and competent
in their field.
Pacemaker and AICD’s (automatic internal cardiac
defibrillator) insertions are performed in the new lab in addition to
catheterizations. For the convenience and comfort of our patients, there
is a private Cardiovascular Prep and Recovery Unit located adjacent to
the Catheterization Lab.
Making the Diagnosis
After the diagnostic test is complete, the cardiologist reviews all the
images to determine if there is narrowing or blockages requiring further
treatment. The cardiology team then determines if the problem can be
treated with medicine, a therapeutic interventional procedure, or bypass
Patients are referred by their physician for cath procedures or come
through our Emergency Department to be seen in the Cardiac Catheterization
Lab. A service of the UM UCH Heart and Vascular Institute,
the Cardiac Catheterization Lab follows protocols developed in conjunction
with the renowned St. Joseph Heart Institute. For more information
please call Diane Durm, Cardiac Catheterization Lab Manager, at 443-643-3680.
Cardiac CT Scanning
The most advanced CT scan technology in the world is available at UCMC. The LightSpeed VCT (Volume Computed Tomography)
scanner offers incredible speed and image quality.
VCT scanning allows the visualization of structures
within the human body and can capture images of the heart in just five
heartbeats, and other organs in only a second. This advanced technology
turns the images into 3-D views that physicians can use to diagnose and
decide the best course of treatment.
The new scanner is used for a variety of procedures,
including cancer care, stroke workup, and kidney and liver exams, but
the LightSpeed VCT is most beneficial for cardiac imaging. This new technology
can decipher between aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, and coronary
artery disease, the three major causes of mortality in patients with
chest pain. In addition to the new diagnostic power in cardiac
cases, the LightSpeed VCT offers the speed and resolution needed for
immediate imaging of blood vessels after a stroke.
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