You are here

Via Christi Heart Center in Pittsburg

The Via Christi Heart Center in Pittsburg is a more than $3 million investment in the fight against heart disease in Southeast Kansas. In Crawford County it is estimated that 48% of all deaths are a result of heart disease, compare that to the national average of 32% and it is easy to see the need for quality heart care in our community.

Via Christi Heart Center can positively impact those numbers by providing advanced coronary diagnoses locally, by assisting patients before their conditions become critical and by providing procedures for those patients requiring advanced treatment. 

Via Christi Heart Center offers a cardiology team committed to excellence. With a number of diagnostic procedures used in diagnosis, treatment and recovery offered at Via Christi, it's easy to see why Via Christi Heart Center is "Bringing Heart Care Home to Southeast Kansas."

The Heart Center includes

  • Cardiac diagnostic testing
  • Cardiovascular catheterization lab
  • Clinics
  • Cardiac rehabilitation

Our new state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab is at the heart of the Via Christi Heart and Vascular Center. Our Siemens Coroskop catheterization lab is one of the most recognized names in heart care.

Benefits of the catheterization procedure

  • Allows physicians to assess how well heart is pumping
  • Assists physicians in locating and treating blockages in coronary arteries
  • Shows physicians the function of heart valves
  • May be used to assess and treat blockages in leg arteries

How the procedure works

First an IV will be started prior to the procedure, the patient will be given a mild sedative to help in relaxation and comfort, but it will not put the patient to sleep. The patient will remain awake throughout the procedure in order to follow the doctor's instructions and alert staff of any discomfort or problems.

Once in the catheterization lab, nurses and technicians will prepare for the procedure by placing EKG electrodes on the chest, shaving and cleaning the groin area or arm with antiseptic solution and covering with sterile towels and sheets.

The cardiologist or surgeon will inject the groin or arm with a numbing medication, much like you receive at a dentist office. After this medication has taken effect, the doctor will make a small puncture into the blood vessel with a small needle. A larger IV will then be placed and the catheter will be inserted. The physician will watch the movement in the catheter by x-ray. Some pressure at the site of the insertion may be felt. The patient will not be able to feel the catheter inside the body. Once the catheter has been guided to the heart, the contrast material or dye, as it is sometimes called, is administered through the catheter.

When this occurs, a patient may feel hot or flushed for a short time. This is a normal reaction to the dye and is not a cause for concern. There may be several injections of the dye, and the x-ray equipment may be moved around during the procedure. This is necessary to get different views of the patient's heart and coronary arteries. The dye in the coronary arteries is seen by the x-ray as a dark line. A disruption of the dark line may signify an area of plaque build-up inside the wall of the artery.

During this same procedure, dye is injected into the heart's pumping chamber in order to see how well the heart muscle is contracting and how well the valves are working. Pressure measurements are also taken at this time and are interpreted by a computer.

The entire procedure should only take 1-2 hours. Once the catheterization is complete the catheter is removed and firm pressure or a vessel closure device along with tight dressing will be put in place.

After the catheterization, the patient will be returned to a recovery area or a patient room. Via Christi Staff will continue with observation and any follow-up treatment after the procedure is complete. Recent advances in closure devices have made recovery time after catheterization much shorter and many patients go home the same day.

Treatment of a blockage

In some cases the catheterization procedure reveals that fatty deposits known as plaques have collected along the walls of a patient's arteries, narrowing the arteries and making it difficult for blood to pass through. If a blockage is noted, our physicians may use one of three methods to improve blood flow in the artery.

Angioplasty

During an angioplasty procedure, a catheter with a small balloon at the tip is advanced into the artery with blockage. When the catheter reaches the narrowed area, the balloon is inflated. This stretches the artery and flattens the fatty deposits against the artery's walls increasing blood flow.

Stent

A stent is a small device that is placed in a coronary artery to keep it open. It is a permanent implant that remains in the artery. By keeping the artery open, the stent improves blood flow and relieves symptoms of coronary heart disease.

Drug eluding stent

Just like a normal stent, this is a small device that is placed in an artery to keep it open. This stent also contains medication that prevents the regrowth of fatty deposits or plaques along the artery walls, in turn keeping the artery open for blood to pass. It is a permanent implant that remains in the artery.