Heart catheter laboratory – Institute for Interventional Cardiology and Vascular Medicine

Focus on the heart and coronary arteries

If you arrive at our hospital complaining of constriction, chest and arm pain, or shortness of breath from even minimal exertion, you may well be diagnosed with constricted coronary arteries. This is known as coronary heart disease (CHD), meaning that your heart is not being supplied with sufficient oxygen. Deposits of fatty tissue and calcium within the coronary arteries impede the flow of blood, preventing an adequate supply of fuel to the very engine of our body: the heart. After numerous examinations and tests confirming the suspected diagnosis, the doctors will recommend a heart catheter examination, also known as coronary angiography.

This technique is used to visualize the coronary arteries and locate the points of constriction. In what is called left heart catheterization, an artery – generally in the right wrist – is punctured, and a thin tube (catheter) is inserted up to the coronary artery. This is used to deliver a contrast agent containing iodine to make the coronary artery easily visible in a short video recording.

Based on this examination, the cardiologist can evaluate the constrictions to decide whether the implantation of a stent is indicated. This procedure, also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is in most cases performed immediately during the same session after making and evaluating the video recording. The stent is then placed directly at the identified location and expanded with a balloon to keep it in place. In other words, the diagnosis and treatment take place in a single session, which is one of the major advantages of this method.

Berthold‑Linder‑Weg 15, 8047 Graz, Austria Icon Standort