The Hartford Cardiac Laboratory Medical Group is comprised of 5 physicians, a
physician assistant and an advanced practice nurse specializing in the diagnosis
and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The Cardiac Laboratory facilities are
physically located in the Hartford Hospital (Hartford CT) and comprise the Cardiac
Catheterization Laboratory, the Exercise and Nuclear Stress Testing Laboratory,
and the Echocardiographic Laboratory. The physicians are collectively responsible
for the supervision and performance of 4000 diagnostic and interventional angiographic
procedures, 5000 pharmacologic and exercise stress test, and over 7000 echocardiographic
studies on yearly basis. In addition to the geographic full-time support, physician
coverage is available 24 hours a day for emergency echocardiographic and catheterization
studies. Patients with acute heart attacks are brought immediately to the catheterization
laboratory where blood flow is restored to a blocked artery with coronary angioplasty
and stent implantation.
History of the Cardiac Laboratory
The Cardiopulmonary Laboratory at Hartford Hospital was developed in 1954 by Dr.
Charles McLean with a grant from five local insurance companies including The
Hartford, The Travelers, The Phoenix, The Aetna, and The Connecticut Mutual. The
five insurance companies contributed $5000 apiece for a total of five years thus
providing a total of $125,000 for the project over five years. The original cost
of equipment totaled $24,500. In February of 1954 the first cardiopulmonary technician
was hired and the first spirogram was performed in the laboratory. The first arterial
blood study was performed in March 1954. On June 29, 1954 the first cardiac catheterization
was performed on a 33-year-old female with mitral valve stenosis. In the remainder
of that year a total of 16 catheterizations were performed. In those days studies
were performed on the right side of the heart (venous side) and took five to seven
hours to complete.
On February 3rd 1956 for the first time left heart catheterization was done by inserting a needle through the chest wall into the apex of the heart and measuring the pressure on the left side of the heart. In September 1956 the laboratory was able to obtain its first image intensifier allowing the output from the x-ray pictures to be directly transmitted to and viewed on a television screen. This led the way for visualization of the coronary arteries. It was also in 1956 the Dr. McLean first passed a catheter across the aortic valve into the left ventricle and performed coronary angiography in a laboratory animal. He discussed his findings with Dr. Mason Sones at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio who is generally credited as being the father of coronary angiography. In 1966 the first coronary studies were performed in the cardiac laboratory at Hartford Hospital.
From October 1966 to October of 1967 a total of 176 catheterizations were performed in the cardiac laboratory with 17 of the studies including coronary angiography. In 2009 a total of 3500 catheterization procedures were performed with over 1200 interventions.