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Your Guide to Cath Lab Parts

7 April, 2011 | Cath lab

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Procedures in the cardiac catheterization field are primarily concentrated on the study and treatment of the heart chambers, coronary arteries, and other proximal vasculature. Categories in this field may include: Cath Labs, Radiographic Fluoroscopic units, Digital Vascular Imaging Systems, Angiography Units, Cardiac Catheterization Equipment and Cardiac Cath Lab Imaging Systems.

When using a cath lab for angiography, recommendations and preferences refer to peripheral and abdominal vasculature cases. All three types of systems:  cardiac catheterization equipment, general angiography units, and multipurpose systems, have different requirements regarding the C-arm assembly, image-acquisition detector, image processor, and patient-table characteristics.

Cardiac catheterization is an invasive procedure involving inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the arm or leg, and guiding it to the heart with the aid of a special x-ray machine.  Contrast media is injected through the catheter so that x-ray movies of valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers are taken.

When looking for replacement parts for your cath lab, it is worthwhile to do some research about cath lab parts in general, and the specific cath lab part that needs replacement.

Keep in mind that a cath lab is an integrated system of several cath lab parts which can be operated both as fluoroscopic equipment, to guide the insertion of the cardiac catheter and for its navigation to the proper site in the heart; and as a cine x-ray camera for fast filming of the injected contrast media in the heart. The newer cath lab systems make it possible to acquire 3 dimensional (3D) images by rotational angiography. This innovative technique involves the rotation of both the x-ray tube cath lab part and the image detector cath lab part, to acquire sequential projections from multiple angles and reconstructing them into a 3D data set.

Cath lab equipment is a combined system of several major cath lab parts including:

  • The C-Arm or U-Arm which is the largest and the heaviest cath lab part. It is either a floor- mounted or ceiling- suspended arc which carries the x-ray tube and the detector.
  • The x-ray tube is the cath lab part which generates the powerful x-ray pulses in the cine mode. It should be a heavy-duty tube with high-heat capacity and improved heat dissipation. A good cooling system is essential.
  • The x-ray detecting device is the most sophisticated and yet the most delicate cath lab part. In older cath lab systems an image intensifier is used, but in newer models, a flat panel detector is the modern cath lab part which replaces the image intensifier.
  • The generator is the high-voltage, high-power source cath lab part instrumental in energizing the x-ray tube. It should be compatible with the x-ray tube, and capable of delivering the full current capacity of the x-ray tube in cine mode.
  • The collimation system, another integral cath lab part, helps to shape the beam of radiation emerging from the machine, limiting the maximum field size of a beam, therefore reducing radiation exposure to the patient.
  • The x-Ray switching and pulse controller is a cath lab part which sets the x-ray generator in on/off sequence, both in the fluoroscope and the cine modes.
  • A specialized digital image processor with program selector is an important cath lab part that can contribute a lot to the diagnostic value of the cine recording and the fluoroscopic imaging.

Other significant cath lab parts include: patient table,  operating console, cath lab monitors, patient skin dose logging system,  physiological monitoring system,  automatic injector and in larger installations,  bi-plane x-ray systems.

Also, the ability to connect the Cath Lab system to medical data lines and to the hospital mass data storage (pacs) and information system should be carefully examined.

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