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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization

Our Cath Lab

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre opened its first Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) in 1969 to perform diagnostic heart catheterizations, or angiograms. A new lab was built in 1988 and angioplasty began in 1990. A second lab was opened in 1996.
With the opening of the third Cath Lab in 1999, Sunnybrook has increased capacity to perform diagnostic and interventional procedures. Annually, the Schulich Heart Centre performs more than 5,000 procedures including:

  • 3,400 coronary angiograms
  • over 1,300 angioplasties
  • 240 pacemaker implants along with diagnostic and therapeutic electrophysiology procedures. 

Schulich Heart Centre Cath Labs provide a special sterile environment for the insertion of pacemakers, a procedure ordinarily performed in an operating room. This is one of only a few Cath Labs in Ontario to perform permanent pacemaker implants, which helps to decrease the demands on operating room time as well as waiting time for patients.
Our Cath Labs have state-of-the-art digital capabilities. New developments in x-ray technology permit the acquisition of high quality images with reduced exposure to radiation. This was one of the first facilities in the country to implement a high band width, high capacity image networking and archiving system. This allows on-line access to angiograms for rapid diagnosis and consultation among cardiologists and cardiac surgeons within Sunnybrook and, in the future, remotely at our partner hospitals.