vascular diagnostics

cardiac catheterization at OLBH

There are a number of examinations available to diagnose possible heart disease. OLBH’s cardiologists determine the best methods based on the patient’s risk factors, history of heart problems, and current symptoms.

Cardiac catheterization, also known as a heart cath or coronary angiography, allows a cardiologist to assess the function of the heart in several ways. It is a non-surgical, diagnostic procedure that involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, through an artery (usually in the thigh) into the heart. At OLBH, physicians use highly advanced technology to obtain real-time, digital images of the heart’s pumping action, the function of the heart valves, and the blood flow in the coronary arteries.

As compared to other diagnostic tests, cardiac catheterization provides more accurate and comprehensive information. This is especially important when visualization of the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle, is required. The test provides an exact picture of the arteries of the heart and allows OLBH’s vascular team to assess the severity of blockages in the patient’s coronary arteries.

During the procedure, the pressures inside the heart can be measured, blood flow directions and quantities gauged, and pictures of the heart muscle function are obtained. Pressure readings taken inside the heart allow for evaluation of the heart’s pumping function and assessment of the severity of potential valve defects. When a leaky valve or a hole in the heart is present, the dye used during cardiac catheterization shows abnormal blood flow because the dye goes in the ‘wrong’ direction.

A complete cardiac catheterization study generally lasts about one hour. A precise diagnosis often is available immediately. In other cases, further review and consultations with other OLBH physician specialists may be required.

For more information about how advanced cardiac procedures available at OLBH may benefit you, speak to your physician. For a physician referral or further information about OLBH services, please call the OLBH CareLine at 606-833-CARE (2273).

pacemaker implantation at OLBH

In order for a heart to pump blood throughout the body, it must be electrically stimulated to beat. In a normal heart the electrical system signals the heart muscle to beat in a precise sequence 60-100 times each minute. Just like the electrical system of a car can occasionally malfunction, so can the heart’s electrical system.

Someone with a slow and often irregular heartbeat - or a heartbeat that is sometimes normal and sometimes too fast or too slow – may not be receiving an adequate blood supply being pumped through the body. In those instances a physician may recommend an artificial pacemaker.

A pacemaker is a small, lightweight, electronic device that is placed inside the body to keep track of a patient’s heartbeat, and when necessary, produces electrical signals similar to the heart’s natural signals. When the heart’s own electrical system sends a signal and the heart beats, the pacemaker waits and does nothing. When the heart’s system misses a signal, the pacemaker sends one out to replace it, keeping the heart beating normally and pumping the proper amount of blood through the body.

The pacemaker has two parts – leads/wires and a pulse generator, or battery. The pulse generator, a small, metal case containing a computer and a battery, makes the electrical signals when they are needed. The patient does not actually feel any sensations from the pacemaker. The leads, insulated wires, carry the electrical impulses from the generator directly to the heart muscle, causing it to contract.

cardiac specialists implant pacemakers at OLBH

Experienced cardiac specialists implant pacemakers at OLBH using an advanced imaging system. The system’s advanced capabilities yields real-time, digital views that allow for the most precise guidance of therapeutic devices to improve cardiovascular health.

If you feel you may have an irregular heartbeat, speak to your physician about how OLBH can help improve your cardiovascular health. If you do not have a physician, the OLBH CareLine can refer you to one who meets your needs; simply call 606-833-CARE (2273) or e-mail at

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