Level One Cath Lab

Located on the first floor of UH Samaritan Medical Center
1025 Center Street
Ashland, Ohio 44805

419-289-0491, ext. 2494 or 1-800-257-9917, ext. 2494

Samaritan Heart Services provides heart care for the Ashland community and surrounding areas. At the core of these services is a level one diagnostic cardiac catheterization lab, located on the first floor of UH Samaritan Medical Center.

Level one catheterization and peripheral studies are performed in the cath lab. One procedure, which is frequently referred to as a “cath”, is a diagnostic test used to find blockages. This procedure is called an angiogram (an x-ray of an artery) and should not be confused with an angioplasty, where stents are placed in the arteries to open blockages.

A cardiologist performs the level one cath for both inpatients and outpatients. During the procedure, medication is usually administered for sedation and pain management. Our specially-trained staff are always available for continuous monitoring, reassurance, and skilled care.

Through a small incision in the groin, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, which will be guided to the coronary arteries of the heart. Once dye has been injected into these coronary arteries, the cardiologist can see, through x-ray monitors, any blockages, their location and severity.

The heart’s pumping chambers are also viewed to determine how well your heart pumps and to make sure the heart valves are working properly. The procedure generally takes an hour. Your family is more than welcome to wait with you prior to the procedure, and after the procedure. Patient areas are clean, bright, quiet and private, creating a soothing atmosphere for an optimal experience.

Samaritan Heart Services also provides peripheral vascular diagnostic tests such as abdominal aortograms, carotid artery angiograms, and additional angiograms that show blood flow through the arteries. The actual procedure and recovery is very similar to a cardiac catheterization.

Other diagnostic heart services offered at UH Samaritan Medical Center include:

Echo Stress Test

Patients with coronary artery blockages may have minimal or no symptoms during rest. However, symptoms and signs of heart disease may be unmasked by exposing the heart to the stress of exercise by either walking on a treadmill or by medications given to simulate exercise. That’s because, during exercise, healthy coronary arteries dilate more than an artery with a blockage. This unequal dilation causes more blood to be delivered to the heart muscle supplied by the normal artery. In contrast, narrowed arteries end up supplying reduced flow to its area of distribution. This decreased flow causes that particular muscle to "starve" during exercise. The "starvation" may produce symptoms, such as chest discomfort or shortness of breath. In addition, EKG changes may occur as well as reduced movement of the heart muscle.

An Echo stress test (also known as Echocardiography or ultrasound) can identify reduced movement of the heart muscle by examining the movement of the walls of the left ventricle, which is the major pumping chamber of the heart. This helps determine how well the heart is receiving blood. It is non-invasive, using no dyes or contrasts, has no side effects, and has little to no risk to the patient. The 45 minute study is performed as an outpatient/inpatient procedure at UH Samaritan Medical Center. It may show damage to the heart muscle, giving physicians a limited view of the heart’s condition before ordering a catheterization.

Cardiolite® Stress Test

This diagnostic study, or Myocardial Perfusion Imagining, combines a nuclear medicine scan of the heart and a stress test (see Echo Stress Test for more information). This test is performed in Samaritan's Cardiopulmonary Service’s Stress Lab and Radiology's nuclear imaging lab.
As with an Echo Stress test, a patient’s heart is evaluated while exercising, or while medications like adenosine and dobutamine are administered to simulate the effects of exercise. When a patient reaches the maximum level of exercise or exercise stimulation, a small amount of Cardiolite® is injected into an IV site. The patient then reclines on the table under a camera that scans the heart and detects the energy emitted from the radioactive medicine circulating in the heart. Pictures obtained during the scan show the heart’s blood flow both at rest and following exercise. If a portion of the heart muscle doesn't receive a normal blood supply, a deficiency of radioactive medicine activity in that area will appear on the finished images as a “defect".

By producing an image of the heart, the radioactive medicine Cardiolite ® can increase the accuracy of a traditional stress test, showing how well blood flows to the heart muscle. The cardiac nuclear stress test helps determine whether coronary artery blockages are so severe as to limit blood flow to the heart muscle when it needs it most… during physical activity. In addition, nuclear imaging addresses the heart’s pumping function, commonly referred to as the “ejection fraction”.

The amount of radiation you will receive is comparable to that from an X-ray. Cardiologists, physicians, and technologists with expertise in nuclear cardiology perform, supervise, and analyze these tests, which are performed at UH Samaritan Medical Center.

Multi-gated Acquisition (Muga Scan)

In less than an hour, a physician can see the volume of blood being pumped by the heart as this test performs ejection fractions. It is another diagnostic tool used to evaluate a patient's heart prior to surgery, as well as prior to or during chemotherapy treatments that may weaken the heart. Like the Cardiolyte Stress Test, this non-invasive test uses no dyes or contrasts and has little or no risk to the patient.

Heart Imaging

This procedure uses a nuclear medicine camera to perform several types of tests which assess the heart’s condition. It is performed in the Radiology Department at UH Samaritan Medical Center and is used to diagnose heart disease, valve disorders or heart failure.