A heart catheterization lab, or “cath” lab, is where specialized doctors perform diagnostic tests on the heart and blood vessels. Catheterization can be used to evaluate heart defects, heart function, and the state of blood vessels. Doctors also may obtain blood samples to measure oxygen levels. In some cases, procedures can be performed in the cath lab that may eliminate the need for open heart surgery. The catheterization lab can also be used to diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia).

Location and Design: 

Convenient location

  • Near main operating room in University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and only steps from the new children’s hospital by a short connector
  • Proximity to family lounges on Levels 4 and 5 of our new children’s hospital
  • Proximity to operating room area for enhanced cleanliness, aiding infection control

Efficient layout

  • Adjacent cath labs and nearby workspace enhance teamwork and efficiency, increasing patient safety
  • Customized with input from staff members for most efficient work flow

Expanded control room

  • Numerous monitors for multiple views of patient’s heart at one time, allowing close monitoring.

Flexible design

  • Quicker transition from diagnosis to surgery, or combined catheterization and surgical procedures (lab is set up similar to operating room)

Increased space

  • Increase from one cath lab to two. Each room is 930 square feet, more than 20 percent larger than current catheterization lab
  • Increased capacity reduces frequency of after-hours procedures
  • More daytime availability reduces amount of time patients must go without food before procedure
  • Move allows expansion of Pediatric Specialty Clinic


  • Catheterizations will occur in one room; treatments for arrhythmias in the other
  • Equipment can remain in place for seamless transition, increasing efficiency and enhancing infection control

Room Features:

All-new equipment

  • Improved diagnostic tools, including three-dimensional imaging
  • Reduced radiation exposure, ensuring safest environment for patients and care team

Dedicated nurses’ stations (instead of mobile workstations)

  • Better ergonomics
  • Enhanced infection control
  • Improved efficiency

Equipment booms (suspended from ceiling)

  • Allow ergonomic placement of equipment and monitors
  • Provide more open floor space, aiding infection control

Recessed lighting

  • Consistent, bright lighting throughout room
  • Easier to clean, enhancing infection control

Same-handed orientation

  • Allows repetitive action and standardization, reducing potential for error
  • Essential items in same place in each room