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IU Health West Hospital Opens Second Cardiac Cath Lab

An IU Health West Hospital Release

Indiana University Health West Hospital doubled its capacity to provide life-saving heart catheterization and interventional radiology procedures with the addition of a $1 million second interventional suite. Upon final approval from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), the hospital's second heart catheterization lab, or "cath lab," officially opened for business on Tuesday, January 29, with its first seven patient appointments scheduled.

When a patient experiences a heart attack and requires an emergency cardiac catheterization, the clock to unblock an obstruction starts ticking immediately. "Time is muscle," says Josh Halon, director of cardiovascular services at IU Health West Hospital. "You have a window of opportunity to get blood flow back to the heart muscle, or you may have irreversible damage or even worse, death."

Sometimes, diagnosing heart trouble means taking a look from the inside--often after other testing has indicated there may be a problem. A heart catheterization is a minimally-invasive test that allows for direct measurement of the pressures within the heart, as well as direct X-ray visualization of the heart's arteries. It is still considered the "gold standard" for diagnosing and evaluating the extent of coronary artery disease.

Heart catheterization uses a needle-sized hole in an artery at the groin or wrist to thread a catheter to the heart under X-ray guidance. This allows physicians to see heart structures and blood vessels and determine if a blockage or other problem exists. Typically, a diagnostic heart catheterization can be performed in less than 30 minutes.

Heart catheterization also allows for blocked heart arteries to be opened at the time of diagnosis by balloon angioplasty and, usually, placement of one or more coronary artery stents. This is called an "interventional catheterization."

"With the opening of this second suite, we are committed to our promise of excellent care by treating patients closer to where they live and work," says Halon. "Without the cath labs here at IU Health West, patients might have to add nearly an hour of additional delay in being treated, risking further damage to the heart muscle. It can be life-changing for a patient not to get care when they need it most."

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