Peripheral Vascular Institute
7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Diagnosis rises to a new level of accuracy with the first all-digital Catheterization Lab in the state. This quantum leap in cardiac image quality gives doctors a far more detailed view of problems, allowing them to intervene with greater precision than ever before.
Saint Francis is the first and only hospital in Delaware to offer new Diamondback 360º Orbital Atherectomy technology, designed to remove plaque—including calcium—in the legs.
Thank you for choosing Wilmington Heart Services for your procedure. We know that you and your cardiologist have many cardiac facilities to choose from, and we appreciate your confidence in Saint Francis Hospital’s excellent staff and state-of-the-art facility. On August 4, 2008, the Vascular Institute at Saint Francis Hospital was launched. This partnership between Saint Francis Hospital and Wilmington Heart Services expands our capabilities to include early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular disease.
The Peripheral Vascular Institute at Saint Francis Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Ashish Parikh, offers a multidisciplinary team approach to early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular problems.
In this diagnostic procedure, doctors insert a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the body and up through a large blood vessel into the heart. Contrast (or dye) is injected through this catheter, allowing doctors to see your coronary arteries, evaluate how well your heart is pumping, and determine the best treatment for you. This test provides more accurate, detailed information about how well your heart is working than other diagnostic tests.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)
During your cardiac catheterization your doctor will determine if your coronary artery disease is significant enough to require PTCA. If so, this will be accomplished at the same time as your catheterization. A small balloon at the end of a catheter is placed at the area of your blockage and expanded to re-open your narrowed artery. You may feel some chest pain at this point. While this is normal, it is important to tell your doctor and Cath Lab staff what you are feeling. The balloon catheter is then removed.
A stent is a small, latticed, metal scaffold placed inside your blood vessel on a balloon catheter to help keep the artery open. As the balloon is inflated, the stent expands against the vessel wall. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the stent stays in place permanently. It is very important to take all the medications your doctor prescribes after having a stent inserted, especially if your doctor tells you that you have a drug-eluting stent. Stents can be used in cardiac or peripheral arteries.
Pacemaker and Internal Cardiac Defibrillator Placement
A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is inserted into the body to keep the heart beating at the proper pace. It monitors the heart’s electrical activity and delivers electrical pulses when needed. If it senses the heart is beating too slowly or pausing for too long, the pacemaker stimulates the heart with precisely timed electrical pulses.
An internal defibrillator acts as a pacemaker but can also shock the heart out of a very rapid rhythm. Just like a pacemaker, it is a small electronic device that is inserted into the body. When extremely rapid and irregular heartbeats occur, it delivers an electric shock to return the heart to normal rhythm.
Your doctor may instruct you not to lift anything heavy, and to limit the use of your arm on the side your pacemaker or defibrillator is inserted for up to six weeks.
Electrophysiology Studies and Defibrillator Testing
An Electrophysiology study tests your heart’s electrical system. This test records and measures the electrical impulses running through your heart during a heartbeat. It can also help doctors evaluate abnormal heart rhythms, determine their origin, and assess how well medicines are working to control them. It may also be used to check how an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) functions during an abnormal heart rhythm.
Peripheral Catheterization, Angioplasty, and Stenting
The same atherosclerotic plaque that causes coronary artery disease may also cause peripheral vascular disease or peripheral artery disease. Often, atherosclerosis (an accumulation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels) is not confined to one artery but also involves arteries in other parts of the body. Some symptoms that may suggest you have peripheral vascular disease include:
- A dull, cramping pain in your hips, thighs, or calf muscle
- Buttock pain
- Numbness or tingling in your leg, foot, or toes
- Changes in skin color
- Changes in skin temperature (coolness) in your legs
- Ulcers, infections, or sores that do not heal
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Sexual dysfunction
If your doctor suspects peripheral vascular disease, you may be scheduled for an angiogram. During an angiogram, dye is injected into your arteries, and x-rays are taken to show any blockages you may have. Your doctor will determine if your best treatment option is medication, surgery, or angioplasty. If angioplasty with possible stenting is your best option, the procedure will be performed immediately following your angiogram. Angioplasty and stenting in peripheral vessels are completed the same way they are performed in coronary arteries.