|Heart catheterization, used both to diagnose and treat blockages, takes place in catheterization labs at Via Christi Hospital in Wichita. A small incision is made in the groin and a flexible, thin catheter is threaded up to the heart. A scope can be used to view the heart on a monitor. If a blockage is discovered, the physician may make a repair with balloon angioplasty, inflating a small balloon to clear the blockage. The physician may also place a stent, a small wire tube that helps keep the artery open. When catheterization is used to find and treat blockages in blood vessels located away from the heart, the process is known as peripheral vascular catheterization.
One of the newest catheterization procedures is brachytherapy, in which a dose of radiation is applied to the blockage area through the catheter. This is sometimes used when a blockage re-forms after a stent is placed. One of the newest available tests, T-wave alternans, helps physicians diagnose potentially dangerous irregular heartbeats.
The Via Christi Heart Center also has an electrophysiology (EP) lab, where irregular heartbeats are monitored to give doctors an accurate picture of the heart's rhythm, and CryoCath Cardiac CryoAblation and radiofrequency ablation are performed to correct irregularities. There is a nuclear cardiology lab where pictures of the heart are taken from two perspectives at once and a hematology lab, where tests confirming heart attacks can be conducted much more quickly than before. Coronary scoring, a non-invasive test that uses a light-speed CT scanner to check calcification of the arteries and identify people who are at risk for a heart attack, is available at several locations.