The Richmond Register

July 28, 2013

Baptist Health Richmond opens heart cath lab


Register Staff Report

RICHMOND — Baptist Health Richmond will now be able to perform a life-saving heart procedure for patients who are experiencing heart attacks.

The hospital announced this month that its state-of-the-art cardiac catherization lab, in which the angioplasty procedure is performed, is now available 24/7 at the facility.

“When it comes to a heart attack, time is muscle,” Dr. Ananth Kumar, medical director of interventional cardiology, said in a news release.

During a heart attack, a clot forms in an artery supplying blood to the heart and blocks blood flow to that area of heart muscle. The portion of the heart muscle deprived of blood and oxygen is damaged. This is called a “myocardial infarction,” more commonly known as a heart attack.

The amount of lasting damage to the heart muscle depends on a number of factors — the size of the clot, the location of the clot and how long the clot blocks blood flow to the muscle. The longer the heart muscle is without blood and oxygen, the more extensive the damage to the muscle and the greater the size of the heart attack.

In order to preserve heart muscle, angioplasty allows normal blood flow to be restored to the injured heart muscle within minutes. This minimally invasive procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory by specially trained cardiologist.

Angioplasty may involve the placement of a small wire device called a “stent.” A stent is shaped somewhat like the spring of a ballpoint pen and may be inserted into the artery to help it remain open after a clot is removed.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the gold standard to open the artery is 90 minutes from arrival in the Emergency Department.