Exploring Distant Regions
The cath lab isn’t just for heart problems. “Where the blood goes, we go,” is their motto. That means examining and diagnosing problems in the blood vessels, and in many cases treating those problems without surgery. In the hands of a skilled practitioner, a catheter can explore the remote regions of the vascular system, from the carotid artery of the neck to blood vessels of the lower legs.
The benefits of using catheterization procedures for vascular problems can include shorter procedures, faster recovery and decreased complications.
Vascular procedures that can be performed in the cath lab include:
Vascular Angioplasty and Stents
Angioplasty and stent placement are two ways to open blocked peripheral arteries. Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block blood flow.
A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that keeps the artery open.
Obstruction of a blood vessel in a patient’s leg, known as peripheral arterial disease, traditionally was treated by surgically opening the artery and scraping out the obstructive plaque, or by performing bypass surgery.
Atherectomy is a minimally invasive alternative performed in the Cath Lab, using a tiny orbiting blade at the end of a catheter. This instrument clears out the artery from the inside, thereby improving blood flow.
When a patient needs surgery to remove a blood clot from a leg vein, catheterization is a less invasive alternative to traditional surgery. In aspiration thrombectomy, a catheter is used to remove the clot by suction.
When a blood clot forms in a patient’s leg or pelvis (deep vein thrombosis), it can break loose and migrate to a lung, causing a blockage known as pulmonary embolism. If these clots can’t be treated with medication, a device called an inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) is placed in the main vein in the belly area to block the clots’ pathway to the lungs.
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