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Home » Services » ACI Cath Lab » Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic Procedures

Our bodies rely on its blood supply – the fountain of life – to channel oxygen and other nutrients to all our organs and muscles.

The heart is the pump that circulates the blood throughout the body and as such, is central to the blood supply. The blood vessels (e.g. our arteries and veins) are the pipelines through which the blood flows. Together, the heart and the blood vessels make up the vital cardiovascular system.

At ACI, our role is to look after this vital system. Cardiovascular care is critical to all aspects of medicine and good cardiovascular health is the basis of good health in general.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to be able to detect and accurately diagnose any problems in the cardiovascular system to facilitate early treatment. This is especially true when looking at problems of the heart itself.

ANGIOGRAPHY & CATHETERISATION

In modern medicine, the most accurate way to view the internal workings of the cardiovascular system is an X-ray angiogram. This procedure is done in a Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab). Angiography is an X-ray procedure used to examine the blood vessels in your body with a special X-ray camera. Angiograms can be performed on the following areas – heart (cardiac), kidney (renal), lungs (pulmonary), brain (cerebral), and leg (femoral).

Cardiac Catheterisation is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. A long, thin flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, or groin (upper thigh) or neck and threaded to your heart. The catheter is smaller in diameter than the blood vessel into which it is inserted. Through the catheter, doctors can perform diagnostic tests and treatments to your heart. When the catheter is in place, a special dye will be injected through the catheter. With the dye, the blood supply to the area appears darkened when shown on the X-ray screen allowing the physician to see what the problems with your arteries might be.

INTRAVASCULAR ULTRASOUND

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) is a highly advanced medical imaging technique specifically designed for examining blood vessels.  The IVUS machine uses a tiny probe at the tip of a catheter to take the ultrasound images from within a blood vessel.

IVUS images give exquisite detail of any abnormalities of the walls of the blood vessel.  These abnormalities may cause the obstruction of blood flow.  IVUS is particularly useful for looking at cholesterol deposits called plaques.  The IVUS exam provides clinically relevant information about the extent and characteristics of these plaques.  This information assists doctors in making the best treatment decisions.

IVUS also guides the treatment itself by providing vital information to assist interventional cardiologists before, during and after heart procedures, especially for the selection and proper placement of medical devices such as drug-eluting stents.

It has been clinically proven through various studies (one such study done by Washington Hospital Center) that IVUS offers many benefits for treating complex cases and evaluating complications in high risk patients.

FRACTIONAL FLOW RESERVE

Measurement of Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) is a modern, well-validated test for evaluating the medical severity of a blockage within a blood vessel.   The test is performed in a cath lab, usually as part of an angiography study, utilising a special catheter along with equipment designed for the purpose.

When integrated into routine lab procedures, FFR measurement has proven to reduce the incidence of major adverse cardiac events in patients being treated for complex coronary artery disease.

When compared to angiography alone, FFR measurement:

  1. Allows more accurate identification of clinically significant blockages in heart arteries, thereby reducing rates of death, heart attacks and the need for repeat procedures
  2. Improves outcomes and quality of patient life
  3. Lowers procedure-related costs by avoiding unnecessary or repeat treatment

A large international multi-centre trial has shown that the use of FFR in guiding coronary interventional procedures reduced the risk of death, Myocardial Infarction (heart attacks), or repeat revascularization (repeated procedure of previously treated vessels) by 34% when compared with the current practice of using angiography alone to guide stenting decisions.


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