Nonsurgical Procedures

The Cardiac Catheterization & Rhythm Center

The 20,000-square-foot Cardiac Catheterization & Rhythm Center of the Heart Institute at ARMC combines the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies with patient-focused amenities. The center features three dedicated catheterization labs, one dedicated electrophysiology (EP) lab, and one swing lab for catheterization or EP. Easily accessible to the cath/EP labs is the fully equipped cardiac surgery suite, allowing rapid patient transfer should surgery become necessary.

Emergency cardiac catheterization and angioplasty can stop a heart attack in progress When a heart attack strikes, every minute matters. The faster a blocked coronary artery is opened, the faster oxygen-rich blood can start flowing freely again — saving heart muscle and saving lives.

ARMC’s catheterization labs are available 24 hours a day to provide this rapid life-saving care through emergency cardiac catheterization and angioplasty with stent placement. Following the catheterization procedure (described in the Diagnostic section), the interventional cardiologist inflates a special balloon catheter inside the blocked artery to compress built-up plaque and make a wider channel for blood to flow through. After the balloon inflates, a tiny mesh coil, or stent, is implanted in the artery and acts as a scaffold to hold the artery open. Stents usually are coated with special medications that reduce inflammation, scarring, and the risk of the affected artery becoming blocked again.

Rapid “door-to-balloon” time saves heart muscle

Defined as the amount of time between coming through the doors of the Emergency Department and having a balloon catheter inflated inside the blocked artery to open it, door-to-balloon time is an important consideration when choosing a heart program. ARMC’s Mainland Campus consistently averages a door-to-balloon time that is comparable to the 90-minute goal set by the American College of Cardiology Door-to-Balloon (D2B) Collaborative. Time saved is heart muscle saved.

Other treatment procedures performed in the cath lab include:

  • Atherectomy to remove blockages from the coronary arteries and improve blood flow to the heart.
  • Peripheral vascular intervention to unclog blocked arteries in the neck, legs or arms, and improve blood flow.
  • Carotid artery stenting for the prevention of stroke in patients with carotid artery disease.
  • Balloon valvuloplasty to improve heart function and blood flow by enlarging the heart valve opening.
  • Closure of intracardiac defects for treatment of congenital heart disease.
  • Intravascular pressure measurement and ultrasound to determine the degree of decreased blood flow or severity of narrowing; to evaluate the deployment of stenting; and to measure the size of arteries.

ARMC is the only provider in southeastern New Jersey of 24/7/365 emergency catheterization with angioplasty and/or stent placement to stop a heart attack in progress and restore blood flow. Every minute matters... 

Designated treatment center for the most serious type of heart attack

When a coronary artery is completely blocked by a blood clot, blood can’t reach the heart muscle, and it begins to die. This most serious type of heart attack is called a STEMI* and it’s diagnosed in the ambulance through an electrocardiogram (EKG). Fast action is needed to restore blood flow and minimize damage to the heart muscle. Because of the critical importance of rapid, expert intervention, the State of New Jersey designates only certain hospitals as “STEMI Centers,” where the highest level of emergency cardiac care is available 24 hours a day. As the only hospital in the region with this designation, ARMC receives STEMI patients transported by professional ambulance crews throughout southeastern New Jersey. There is no need to travel by helicopter to a hospital out of the area.

*STEMI = ST segment elevation myocardial infarction

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