Angioplasties and Pacemakers—the Stuff of Cath Lab Nurses

Short-Term Patient Care in Highly Technical Labs

Cardiac cath lab nurses are an ultra specialized subset of cardiac care nurses. These RNs work very closely with cardiac physicians and patients with pressing heart disease. Unlike other cardiac care nurses, though, those in a cath lab environment are trained to assist and care for patients that undergo specific and technical cardiovascular procedures; cardiac catheterization is just one technique employed in a cath lab.

coronarography catheter.

Cath Lab

As the name suggests, the Cath Lab is where cardiac catheterization procedures take place. The namesake procedure is named for the tube that is inserted and threaded into veins and/or arteries through which cardiac physicians may explore and diagnose cardiovascular ailments from the inside out. But other cardiac interventions are also conducted in these labs. Angioplasties, balloon pumps, implantation of internal defibrillators, and pacemakers are also routine Cath Lab operations. Hospitals with active cardiovascular practices maintain cutting edge Cardiac Catheterization Labs where diagnosis and treatment of coronary and arterial blockages, cardiovascular birth defects, and many other forms of heart disease take place.

Role of Cath Lab Nurse

Cath Lab nurses perform pre and post procedural care for cardiac patients that undergo procedures to relieve cardiovascular distress. Because many of the procedures are cutting-edge and utilize the latest technology, Cath Lab nurses must be committed to continuous education. Patients come from all backgrounds and age groups, but most predominantly include the aging population and children with congenital heart problems.

Degree Programs and Job Requirements

Nurses that go to work in a Cardiac Catheterization Lab are a bit different from other cardiac care nurses that may follow patients in long-term care. Cath lab nurses work specifically with patients in terms of cardiac procedures. After procedures are conducted patients are moved to cardiac care units. This short-term patient contact in no way diminishes the qualifications necessary for cath lab nursing. The job requires highly trained RNs, preferably with a BSN or an adequate amount of cardiac work experience under their belts. Many cath lab nurses begin their careers working with cardiac patients in long-term care situations or in critical care.


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