Cardiac catheter labs at Harefield Hospital

Cardiac catheter lab manager: 

Mark Bowers


The four cardiac catheter labs at Harefield Hospital treat a variety of cases and carry out a variety of procedures on emergency transfer and ambulance patients. The labs specialise in primary or emergency primary percutaneous coronary interventions (PPCI), boasting a door to balloon time of under 30 minutes. The department completes approximately 120 PPCI activations every month. 

Technological advances include the use of the Hansen robot, which connects to the patient and can be used to drive catheters from outside the room with extreme precision. The implementation of iPlan, an electronic scheduling system, will revolutionise the catheter laboratories efficiency and patient treatment as well. IPlan keeps the wards informed and allows patients to be aware at all times where their procedure slot is. 

Dealing with live digital catheter laboratory lists will better ensure appropriate staff and equipment is prepared for the procedures, which in turn will ensure the smooth running of the labs. 

The cardiac catheter labs closely interact and liaise with the wards, theatres and ITU to provide a smooth journey for the patient. The team usually consists of: 

  • cardiologists
  • radiographers
  • nurses
  • cardiac physiologists
  • healthcare assistants.  

They carry out numerous procedures including diagnostic X-rays (angiograms), PPCIs, pacemaker and complex device insertions, electrophysiological studies and transcatheter aortic valves implantations(TAVI). 

The staff were really fantastic at making me feel comfortable. I had to consent to an angiogram the same night which scared me a bit but the doctor talked me through the procedure very thoroughly. Didn't sleep all night but the nurse and student nurse were excellent at making me feel comfortable.

I had the angiogram the next day and the staff in the cath lab talked through the whole process as they were performing it. Recovery staff were also brilliant at making me feel at ease. They gave time to each patient and treated us all with respect and dignity. The staff were impeccable no matter what rank they were ie nurse, student nurse, health care assistant, cleaner, catering staff, doctors, consultant...

Harefield Hospital is the best promoter of the way the NHS should be. The staff are a credit to the hospital. 

Review on NHS Choices, December 2016