Cardiac catheters are specialized medical devices used to diagnose and treat conditions of the heart and blood vessels. These catheters are typically inserted into an artery or vein in the groin or wrist and guided up to the heart or blood vessels using X-ray or other imaging techniques.
Cardiac catheters can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:
- Coronary angiography: This diagnostic procedure involves injecting a special dye into the coronary arteries to visualize any blockages or narrowing. The catheter is guided to the coronary arteries, and the dye is injected through the catheter. The X-ray images obtained during the procedure can help identify the location and severity of any blockages.
- Balloon angioplasty: This therapeutic procedure can be performed during a coronary angiography. A small balloon attached to the end of the catheter is inflated inside the narrowed or blocked artery to open it and improve blood flow.
- Stent placement: Similar to balloon angioplasty, a stent can be placed in the narrowed or blocked artery to keep it open. The stent is inserted into the artery using the catheter and expanded to hold the artery open.
- Electrophysiology studies: These are diagnostic tests that evaluate the heart’s electrical activity. The catheter is guided to the heart and small electrical signals are sent through the catheter to stimulate the heart and measure its response.
Cardiac catheters are typically performed by interventional cardiologists, who are specially trained in using these devices. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia and sedation, and patients are closely monitored for any complications, such as bleeding or infection.
Overall, cardiac catheters are essential tools in diagnosing and treating heart and blood vessel conditions and have effectively improved patient outcomes.