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Cardiac Catheterization

Jupiter Medical Center provides a full spectrum of interventional cardiology procedures in our two, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs and electrophysiology lab.

Our highly skilled cardiac catheterization team offers the latest methods to detect and treat diseases affecting the heart muscle, valves and blood vessels inside the heart. When diagnostic tests detect a problem, you can receive services such as coronary stenting and angioplasty right here at Jupiter Medical Center, the #1 ranked hospital for safety, quality and patient satisfaction in the Palm Beach County area.

Why Choose Jupiter Medical Center for Cardiac Catheterization?

Our experienced team includes many of Palm Beach County’s leading interventional cardiologists, as well as registered nurses and technologists with advanced cardiac training and knowledge. We have invested in best-in-class technology, ensuring our cath labs are equipped to offer the most effective diagnostic tests and treatments.

In an emergency situation, our cardiac team is ready to perform life-saving interventions on the spot. Since seconds count in a cardiac emergency, patients can also take comfort in the knowledge that our cath lab has industry-leading response times.

We also have a dedicated acute recovery unit with specialized staff trained in providing care for preoperative and postoperative cardiac intervention patients.

Procedures Performed in Jupiter Medical Center’s Cardiac Cath Labs

Expert diagnosis, advanced treatment for complex heart problems, and unparalleled care can be found in our cardiac catheterization lab, where our expert team performs a full range of diagnostic exams and catheterization treatments.

Procedures include:

  • Balloon angioplasty
  • Stenting procedures
  • Right and left heart catheterization
  • Coronary angiography
  • Atherectomy
  • Coronary intravascular ultrasound
  • Pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) placement

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterizations are minimally invasive, interventional cardiology procedures used to both diagnose and treat certain types of heart disease.

During a catheterization procedure, your cardiologist will insert a small, flexible tube (a catheter) into an artery or vein, often the femoral artery near the upper leg. From there, the catheter is threaded through your blood vessels until it reaches the heart. With the help of imaging guidance, physicians can see if any of the coronary arteries have blockages, and evaluate the function of a patient’s heart valves.

Once at the heart, the cardiologist can also evaluate how the heart is functioning, or measure pressure levels in the different chambers of your heart.

Catheterization may be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the cause of heart-related symptoms an individual is experiencing. Catheterization can also be used for treatments such as angioplasty and stenting, which clear blockages and improve blood flow in the heart.

When Is Cardiac Catheterization Recommended?

Your cardiologist may recommend catheterization for a variety of different symptoms and conditions, including:

  • To assess the severity and location of blockages or narrowing in the coronary arteries that are causing chest pain or tightness (angina) and shortness of breath, or if you’ve had a heart attack.
  • To clear blockages (angioplasty) and make sure the artery remains open (stenting).
  • To relieve severe chest pain and to save lives during a heart attack.
  • To diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiac valves.
  • To locate and assess blockages before coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery.
  • Catheterization can also be used to extract small pieces of heart muscle tissue, known as a biopsy, in cases of heart muscle inflammation, known as myocarditis.


Angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is used to open up blockages in the arteries of the heart. During an angioplasty, a catheter that has a small balloon on the tip is inserted through the artery and into the heart. The balloon is inflated when it reaches the blocked area. The pressure from the balloon compresses the plaque against the walls of the artery, widening the diameter of the artery and improving blood flow.

Balloon angioplasty may be a scheduled procedure. Most patients spend no more than one night in the hospital, and are able to begin to resume normal activities within a few days.

Angioplasty can be done in an emergency situation, such as after a heart attack. In urgent situations, it is essential to perform the angioplasty quickly to restore blood flow, and protect the heart muscle from further damage.

Jupiter Medical Center activates its cath lab team while emergency medical services is en route with the patient, ensuring our patients bypass the emergency department and are taken directly to the cath lab. The time it takes to go from the ER to the cath lab is known as “door to balloon time.” Jupiter Medical Center has a highly coordinated system to ensure that patients have the shortest possible door to balloon time.


A stent is a small, expandable wire mesh tube that can be inserted into a narrowed or blocked coronary artery to act as a support structure to help keep the artery open.

When the catheter has positioned the balloon at the blockage site, the balloon is inflated, pushing aside the plaque and expanding the stent. When the balloon and catheter are removed, the stent stays in place to keep the artery open. Over the course of several months, the coronary artery tissue heals around the stent, enveloping it.

Balloon angioplasty is very often performed in combination with stenting to prevent the artery from re-narrowing. Balloon angioplasty with stenting is commonly recommended for patients who have several blockages in the coronary arteries. After angioplasty and stenting, you will be prescribed antiplatelet medications to reduce the risk of future blood clots.

Other Catheterization Tests and Procedures

Coronary angiography: Coronary angiography enables doctors to visualize the coronary arteries to look for narrowing, blockages or other abnormalities. During the procedure, your cardiologist may use fluoroscopy with contrast dye. Fluoroscopy is a type of X-ray that enables the doctor visualize blockages by seeing how the dye moves through the arteries.

Right and Left Heart Catheterization: There are two main types of cardiac catheterization: left and right heart.

Left heart catheterization is commonly performed to look for blockages in the arteries, such as before angioplasty. During a left heart catheterization, the catheter is passed through the artery, often in the groin, to the left ventricle (chamber) of the heart. Doctors often use contrast dye to help them see how well the blood is circulating, and how the valves are working.

Right heart catheterization is often used to measure blood pressure in your heart or arteries of the lungs. In a right heart catheterization, the catheter is guided to the right side of the heart, and into the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery carries blood from the heart to the lungs, where the blood is nourished with oxygen. Right heart catheterization may be used to determine if you have pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs), and may also involve the use of contrast dye.

Atherectomy: An atherectomy uses a special catheter that has a small, rotating cutter at its tip. At the location of blockage, the rotating tip shaves the plaque from the artery to improve blood flow.

Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS): Intravascular ultrasound combines cardiac catheterization with echocardiography, which uses sound waves to produce an image of the coronary arteries. During an intravascular ultrasound, the sound waves travel through the catheter, allowing physicians to see inside the blood vessels and how they are functioning.

Pacemaker implantation: When the heart rhythm is irregular and changes in medications don’t help, a pacemaker can help keep the heart beating at the right speed. Pacemakers are most often used with the heart is beating too slow. Jupiter Medical Center cardiac teams perform many pacemaker implantations in our cath labs.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) placement: ICDs are small electronic devices that deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat if your heart is beating chaotically. ICDs often also function as pacemakers, and are often implanted in a cath lab.

Taking Care of Your Heart After Angioplasty

Angioplasty and stenting can clear the blockage that caused symptoms such as chest pain or a heart attack. But these cath lab procedures don’t treat the underlying causes.

To help prevent new blockages or narrowing of the coronary arteries, it’s important to incorporate changes into your daily lifestyle – from medications to exercise to eating a healthy diet.

After angioplasty and stenting, you may be prescribed antiplatelet medications to keep blood clots from forming inside the stent, cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins, and blood pressure medications if you have hypertension (high blood pressure). If you haven’t already, try to quit smoking. Quitting smoking, including tobacco or e-cigarettes, has been shown to dramatically reduce the odds of a second heart attack.

Eating well and getting regular exercise to strengthen your heart muscle can also help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which contribute to the formation of plaques. When starting an exercise program after angioplasty, it’s important to start slow and consult your doctor.

Jupiter Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program can help you with nutritional counseling, emotional support and getting you moving with a monitored exercise program.

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