The way heart doctors treat cardiovascular problems has changed. At heart hospitals such as Midtown Medical Center, cardiology specialists are making those changes available to more people.
The Columbus, GA cardiologists who perform procedures at our cardiac catheterization lab are providing some of the most advanced care in the region. Patients can have diagnostic imaging and then undergo interventional procedures from their cardiology doctor immediately. In most cases, this makes open-heart surgery unnecessary.
These specialists know that minimally invasive heart procedures are effective in diagnosing and treating many kinds of heart conditions, including aortic stenosis, atherosclerosis, and atrial fibrillation. Minimally invasive procedures mean shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.
Left- and right-heart catheterizations can effectively diagnose any number of coronary diseases. The procedure involves your cardiologist inserting a long, thin tube into a large blood vessel, either in the groin or arm, leading to the heart. Cardiac specialists use this test to check blood flow, blood pressure in the heart’s chambers, and heart function.
Once a catheter is in place by a heart doctor, non-surgical treatments are used to open clogged arteries and improve blood flow. One procedure is angioplasty, in which a small balloon at the tip of the catheter is inserted near the narrowed area to push fatty plaque against the artery walls and widen the vessel walls. Your cardiologist will usually combine with stenting, where small, metal mesh tubes are inserted to hold the artery open.
Cardiologists also perform certain surgical procedures in the cardiac cath lab to correct heart rhythm problems, such as arrhythmia. These procedures include implanting artificial pacemakers and defibrillators. Heart doctors recommend pacemakers because they use electrical impulses to regulate the heartbeat. They may suggest a defibrillators to help correct arrhythmias and prevent sudden cardiac death.
The hybrid operating room (OR) at Midtown Medical Center is different from the typical surgical suite you’d expect to find at a cardiovascular center. In fat, it’s the only one of its kind in the region. In a standard OR environment, a doctor has to wait until the patient is transported to an imaging suite to “get a look inside.” With a hybrid OR, surgeons get a real-time look at what’s going on, using advanced imaging technology right in the surgical suite. They can perform interventional procedures immediately. At Midtown, the hybrid OR is used exclusively by vascular physicians for stenting in all vessels except for the heart.
Because of the advanced technological capabilities available to cardiologist specialists, Midtown Medical Center is able to provide help for heart patients that doesn’t involve open-heart surgery. By avoiding open surgery, patients avoid the risks associated with such procedures and the inconvenience associated with a longer recovery period. While situations differ from patient to patient and heart doctor to heart doctor, many patients who have a cath lab procedure in the morning are discharged later that day.