Getting to Know Your Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Suzanne Lacaria
Suzanne Lacaria was a valuable member of our Cath Lab team who will be greatly missed. Her professionalism, empathy, compassion and friendship touched the lives of countless coworkers, patients and their families.

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab, or “Cath Lab” at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a specialized, regional unit that actually contains two separate catheterization rooms. The unit provides several services for patients with a variety of heart conditions and events. Our Cath Lab team is comprised of a small, close-knit team of professionals including Interventional and Diagnostic Cardiologists, Surgeons, RN’s, MRT’s, and clerks. Together, the team provides 24/7 emergency care, right here in Thunder Bay.

Our Cath Lab performs over 2000 angiograms (also known as cardiac catheterizations) a year. An angiogram is used to diagnose heart problems and can reveal if you have any blockages in your coronary arteries. If you do, our Cardiologists can determine the degree to which the arteries are blocked, where, and how to treat it. A patient with blockage may require:

  1. Adjustment of medications,
  2. Cardiac surgery, or
  3. Angioplasty

Angioplasty, also known by its technical name, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), is a specialized procedure to open up a coronary artery which is narrowed due to plaque build-up. A fine tube, or catheter, is threaded from the artery in the wrist or groin up to the site of the blockage in the heart. The balloon-tip of the catheter is inflated to press the plaque back against the wall of the artery. When the catheter is removed, the artery remains open wider than before, allowing more blood and oxygen to get to the heart muscle. At our Hospital, we perform nearly 800 life-saving angioplasty procedures a year.

Recently, we lost a very valuable member of our work family. Suzanne Lacaria was an RN who worked in our Cardiac Cath Lab for the past 6 years. If you or your family member were ever her patient; you will remember her professionalism, empathy, compassion, dedication, and her smile. Sue’s battle with cancer was an inspiration to us all. She taught us lessons about unconditional friendship, strength and courage. She was always upbeat, was positive about her diagnosis, and put her patients first. We want to thank her family (including her three beautiful daughters and husband Frank) for sharing Sue with us and her many patients over the years.