Cardiac Catheter Laboratory

Cardiac catheterisations at Johanniter-Krankenhaus Geesthacht

The left heart catheterisation station makes it possible to examine and remedy pathological changes in the heart. The cardiac catheter laboratory, which is affiliated with the Ward of Internal Medicine, is headed by the cardiologist Prof. Dr. Ralf Köster, supported by three senior cardiologists. Patients receive care and attention from a nursing team with many years of experience in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.


A local flexible wire is passed through the body's artery to the heart under constant monitoring. The heart catheter is then pushed over this teflon-coated wire that is serving as a splint. This enables the injection of an X-ray contrast medium. This means that the fine coronary vessels can now be seen on the monitor. The coronary vessels supply the heart muscles with blood and oxygen. They are arranged in a ring around the heart. 

The following cardiac catheter treatments can be performed:

  • Balloon catheter dilatation: dilatation of a vessel constriction using a balloon catheter.
  • Stent implantation: insertion of a vessel support after balloon dilatation to keep the vessels open. These supports are small, flexible metal mesh tubes made of stainless steel that can be placed in the vessel and removed with the help of a balloon catheter.
  • Measurement of coronary flow reserve to assess the severity of the narrowing of a coronary vessel.

Stents have proven their worth. However, after implantation they exert a "foreign body stimulus" on the vessel wall. This can lead to an undesired narrowing of the vessel due to excessive cell growth. Drug-eluting stents are coated with a drug that inhibits cell growth.

In general, cardiac catheter examinations can be carried out in a planned manner. In an emergency, however, the examination must be carried out immediately. Especially in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction, the rapid performance of a cardiac catheter examination is therefore particularly important. It is known that the amount of heart tissue that perishes depends on the time it takes to clear the blockage in the affected coronary arteries.

After the cardiac catheter treatment

After the treatment is finished, the catheter is removed and, depending on the access route, a pressure bandage is applied to the groin or arm. In most cases, patients receive information about the examination results directly after the examination.