Cardiac Catheterization Lab

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab is also known as the Cath Lab. The Cath Lab is a specialized care area that contains two separate catheterization rooms. The lab provides several services for patients with a variety of heart conditions and events. These include heart tests such as angiograms used to diagnose heart problems, and treatments like angioplasty that opens up arteries during a heart attack – or to prevent one from happening.
The Cath Lab is comprised of a team of cardiologist and other cardiac professionals, providing 24/7 emergency care for Northwestern Ontario residents.

What to Expect


Patients may be referred to the Cath Lab by a cardiologist. For planned procedures, your primary care provider and/or your cardiologist will explain your procedure to you prior to your visit.
Once we receive your referral to the Cath Lab, you will receive a booking letter with important information and a package titled “Patient Information – Cardiac Catheterization and Angioplasty” in the mail from the Cath Lab containing valuable material including:

  • Procedure and preparation information
  • Medication information
  • Before and after care information
  • Lab requisition *(instructions on the form to be completed prior to procedure)
  • Procedure booking date and time

Please call the Cath Lab at 807-684-6675 with any questions or inquires about your Cardiac Catheterization Booking.


What to Bring

  • Health card
  • Personal items (slippers, clothes, medical aids, etc.)
  • All medications in original containers
  • *Regional Patients only: In addition to the above list, please bring 2 pieces of picture identification and a credit card for possible admission to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center or University Health Network, Toronto if required.

What to Arrange

  • Transportation/ride to and from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre


Patient must register directly to the Cath Lab reception on Level 3. Please see “How Do I Get There?” on this page, in the left menu for further directions. Wheelchairs are available at the Information Desk upon enter of the main doors if required.


Depending on your procedure, your length of stay may vary. In some cases, you may spend some on either the PCI short stay unit, 2C Cardiovascular Care Unit or the Critical Care Unit (ICU). Visitor guidelines for the hospital will be strictly enforced.

If you’ve been referred to Cardiac Surgery:
Our Regional Cardiovascular Triage Nurse will contact you personally at the bedside at TBRHSC to explain the process steps involved in traveling to our partner site, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, Toronto or other cardiac sites.A travel package including information on travel grants, hospital map and hotel suggestions will be discussed and provided.

Note: Traveling home via commercial flights is the standard process for all patient post cardiac procedure and or surgery.

For further information, call the Regional Cardiovascular Triage Nurse at 807-684-6676.

Words you may hear in the Cath Lab:
Angiogram or Angiography
A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses dye, inserted by catheterization, and x-ray to find blockages and other heart problems
Also known by its technical name Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), angioplasty is a specialized procedure performed by a specialist called an interventional cardiologist, to open up a coronary artery which is narrowed due to plaque build-up. The procedure will widen blocked or partially blocked arteries, usually with a balloon. In most cases, one or more stents are used to help support the artery
A method of correcting an irregular heartbeat using electrical shock
The insertion of a thin plastic tube known as a catheter to help in certain procedure like inserting dye for angiograms or widening arteries and placing stents during angioplasty
Electro-cardiogram, which measures the electrical activity in the heart using a number of electrodes attached to specific parts of the body
Intravenous ultra sound, used to get a 3D picture of arteries if a standard 2D cardiogram cannot determine the amount of blockage
Stents or Stenting
Small mesh tubes used to hold arteries open after angioplastyFor detailed information on various cardio diagnostics including different stress test, TEE, etc: Click here