The ETMC Cardiovascular Institute recently reached a milestone by performing a cardiac catheterization on patient number 25,000.
The cardiac cath lab opened in 1991. ETMC Director of Invasive Cardiology Mike Fountain was there during that first cath along with Bob Pantalon whom also still works at the hospital.
A lot has changed over the years. When we first started, stents weren't available, only balloon angioplasty and open heart surgery, says Fountain. Today's stents are high tech, most are made from exotic metals and some even have a drug coating. Patients and their physicians have a lot more treatment choices."
In the cardiac cath lab a small tube is placed in the femoral artery. Catheters are advanced through this tube to the arteries of the heart and other vessels in the body. Through these catheters, the coronary arteries can be imaged, pressures in the heart can be measured, valves and functioning of the ventricles can be assessed, or a blockage can be fixed.
Today ETMC Tyler has four cath labs and one ElectroPhysiology lab.
The program has also grown to include a cath lab in Athens and in Jacksonville. Fountain adds, It won't take us long to do the next 25,000. We see more than 3,500 patients a year and our business has seen healthy growth since its inception.