Cardiac Catheterization Lab

St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre features a Cardiac Catheterization Lab equipped with two state of the art machines: one for diagnostic testing by cardiac catheterization and one for angioplasty. You may also hear your team refer to this as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Patients in need of emergency coronary intervention have access to this service on a 24/7 basis.

In 2020/2021, St. Mary’s had a target of completing 4,375 procedures.

Cardiac catheterization, also called a coronary angiogram, is a procedure in which a “catheter” (a long narrow tube) is inserted into your artery and/or vein and is guided into your heart. Special x-ray dye is then injected which allows your doctor to see the chambers, valves, and coronary arteries in your heart on an x-ray monitor screen.

It is very important that you understand what will happen and what you need to do to prepare for your procedure. St. Mary’s will mail a booklet to your home to explain the process.

Health-care workers perform a procedure while watching several computer monitors

What is angioplasty?

An angioplasty is a procedure used to help open blocked arteries. A catheter with a special balloon is put into the coronary artery at the site which is narrowed. By inflating the balloon it compresses the blockage to the sides of the artery and stretches the artery slightly, allowing blood to flow freely once more. St. Mary’s will mail a booklet to your home to help you better understand what to expect before, during and after your angioplasty.

Before and After a Procedure

Patients will visit St. Mary’s new Pre/Post Heart Investigation Unit (PHIU) before and after their procedures. The unit was the final phase of a $13-million expansion of the hospital’s Heart Rhythm Program and opened in March 2021.

That project was due in large part to the generosity of donors, who contributed $5.6 million toward the project. The Ontario government funded the other $7.4 million.

Patient recovery bays in a line, with comfortable chairs seen in the background

For more information on the Catheterization Lab and its services contact: 
Rachel Romany, Program Manager
Cardiac Catheterization Lab, PCI, TAVI and VAT Team
519-749-6578 ext. 1904.