Interventional Cardiology

Interventional cardiology services correct problems with your heart.

The following procedural services have been centralized at the regional cardiac care centre at Centenary Hospital which has three advanced catheterization labs for performing procedures and include coronary angiogram, percutaneous coronary intervention, advanced chronic total occlusion and emergency heart attack

Procedures

Coronary angiography is an X-ray examination of the blood vessels (coronary arteries) that supply blood to your heart.

A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray images to see your heart’s blood vessels. The test is done to determine if there are blockages in your hearts blood vessels. The coronary angiogram is part of a group of procedures known as heart (cardiac) catheterizations which are procedures that use catheters to undertake minimally invasive procedures. A very small tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your wrist or upper thigh (groin area), and guided towards the heart. Then a dye is used with a special X-rays to show inside of your heart, along with the blood vessels inside the heart.

Who’s it for?

Doctors use angiograms to assess the condition of your heart, and to determine if any further procedures are required. This procedure is recommended for people who:

  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain (angina)
    – Pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arm that can’t be explained by other tests
    – New or increasing chest pain (unstable angina)
  • Have recently recovered from a heart attack
  • Have had preliminary tests that indicate heart disease
  • A heart defect you were born with (congenital heart disease)
  • A heart valve problem
  • Other blood vessel problems or a chest injury

During an angiogram, your doctor may use a balloon to restore blood flow to your heart. This is called an angioplasty.

Your heart’s arteries can become narrow and clogged over time from a buildup of fat (cholesterol). This can cause reduced blood flow to your heart, which can lead to a heart attack. A coronary angioplasty – also referred to as a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – is a medical procedure that is done to widen arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The coronary angioplasty will enable improved blood flow through these arteries to the heart, without the need for open heart surgery.

Scarborough Health Network is the first hospital in Ontario to provide stand-alone angioplasty (PCI) services.

Who’s it for?

A coronary angioplasty is needed by people who:

  • Have had a heart attack that caused major damage to your heart
  • Have chronic heart disease leading to major blockages in their heart vessels

For additional resources please refer to the following:

A chronic total occlusions (CTO) are blockages that have typically been present for more than three months. These blockages are a result of severe build-up of fatty deposits or plaque within the arteries (atherosclerosis) and are one of the complications from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the artery or arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked because of atherosclerosis. When the heart does not receive enough blood, a person may have chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or a heart attack. These symptoms occur with exertion and sometimes at rest.

These blockages are a result of severe build-up of fatty deposits or plaque within the arteries. Patients with CTO have blockages in their hearts that they could have been living with for months or even years. They might be suffering from chest pain or shortness of breath during physical activities.

Individuals with CTOs may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain, pressure or tightness (angina pectoris)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the upper body and arm
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

A chronic total occlusion (CTO) angioplasty procedure is a medical procedure that is done to widen patient’s vessels to supply blood to the heart.

With the advent of advanced technology and innovative percutaneous techniques, interventional cardiologists have improved the outcomes of percutaneous coronary intervention, making it a viable option for some patients who are experiencing symptoms related to their CTO.

Accessing Services

If you are in need of interventional cardiology services, your physician may send a referral to our regional cardiac centre, which can be faxed to 416-284-3156.

Sites integrated with the Epic platform should submit referral forms electronically through Epic.

For questions or more information, please call 416-284-8131 ext. 5326.

Emergency Heart Attack Care

Scarborough Health Network’s emergency cardiac care service fast tracks patients in Scarborough-Durham who are having a heart attack so that they can get the life-saving treatment they need as quickly as possible. The Centenary hospital is home to the region’s cardiac centre, providing lifesaving emergency care to the Scarborough-Durham region.

Known as Code STEMI, the emergency service involves the close collaboration of all of the partner hospitals, as well as Toronto and Durham Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The Code STEMI program is set into motion when a call is made to EMS for a patient suffering a heart attack. The patient, who could be at home, somewhere in the community, or at one of the partner hospitals, is picked up and transported by ambulance to the regional cardiac centre at SHN’s Centenary hospital. At the cardiac centre, the patient will be brought directly to one of the catheterization labs for an emergency coronary angioplasty to unblock the artery that is causing the heart attack. All of this is done within a crucial 90-minute target window.

Following the emergency procedure, the patient is initially cared for in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and then sent home or for further recovery to the hospital closer to where the patient lives.

STEMI is an acronym for ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction, which describes a heart attack caused by a completely blocked blood vessel. This kind of heart attack affects large areas of heart muscles, and will register on an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Step 1: Call 9-1-1

Emergency Services will get you to the care you need the fastest! In Scarborough-Durham, the ambulance will take you directly to the regional cardiac centre at SHN’s Centenary hospital. You will be fast-tracked to get life-saving treatment right away.

Step 2: Take Aspirin

If the 911 operator advises and you are not allergic, chew and swallow one adult Aspirin—or two baby Aspirin (80 mg tablets). This can help to prevent blood clotting.

Step 3: Try to relax

Stop all physical activity and lie down. Remain calm until the ambulance arrives.

  • Chest pain
  • Pain going to arms, neck or jaw
  • Nausea, shortness of breath, or cold sweat
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness or light-headedness