Mobile & Modular Cath Labs: What Nurses Need to Know

November 5, 2012 at 7:02 am

Admin Note:

Have you considered working with Mobile or Modular Cath Labs? Cardiac nursing is a very popular area to get into. Working in critical care; the cardiac cath lab nurse is responsible for administering interventional procedures, assist doctors when implanting pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators, assist doctors in angioplasties, cardiac catheterizations, and valvuloplasties, and to work closely with the patient. There are many types of equipment you will come across, so we thought we would expand on some of those today.

You have a difficult job as a nurse. Literally, you’re responsible for the health and well-being of your patients, sometimes in life or death situations. That’s why you need to complete your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or bsn program educational and certification requirements before stepping into the role. And in case traditional facilities aren’t challenging enough, there are also mobile or modular catheterization labs that you might need to use at times throughout your career.

What are mobile or modular cath labs, exactly?

Specifically they’re labs that are typically ordered during a hospital renovation or short-term project where medical functions and research on the heart can be carried out by the institution without skipping a beat in everyday operations. They resemble a medical mobile home and are typically parked adjacent or connected to the medical facility that needs to use them.

What type of equipment is often present in these labs?

It’s similar to what you’d find in any hospital in terms of heart care gear–equipment varying along the likes of electrophysiology, heart catherization, mobile angio hardware and pediatric cath technology.

The mobile lab can also be deployed for training and demonstrative purposes, which is fitting because no matter what a hospital or medical facility requires, proper training and use of the equipment is essential. After all, would you want a nurse untrained in such equipment working on your heart?

Here’s a closer look at the types of equipment you’re likely to find in such labs and the general scope of training nurses need:


Measures the electrical activities of the heart. The types of equipment you would find surrounding this category of instruments include voltage clamps, current clamps, patch clamps and planar patch clamps. Such instruments help nurses and other medical professionals study and measure the ions and tissues from a biological standpoint, helping professionals better understand and treat heart conditions and diseases. If they’re not used correctly, they won’t give you the correct results, which can certainly impact how you treat certain conditions.

Heart cauterization

Imaging tools, catheters and flex tools are all used to gain either physical or virtual entry into the heart to test and perform heart treatment. Misuse of such equipment could worsen heart conditions and even lead to irreversible damage.

Mobile angio

Imaging devices and other equipment for performing mobile angioplasty also exists in mobile cath labs. Angioplasty is an increasingly common yet complicated procedure. But the latter point can be stated about almost any procedure involving the heart.

Pediatric cath labs

These labs involve heart conditions in children. Such labs include cardiac imaging systems, monitoring systems, injection systems and digital archiving technologies. It’s all advanced and specialized equipment that nurses can gain an overview on by watching instructional videos, or observing in the field. But how much can you grasp on a particular instrument from watching someone else demonstrate it? Pediatric cath lab equipment, like all of the other equipment listed above, is best learned with hands-on training.

There’s a bevy of equipment that nurses who are stationed in these mobile or modular cath labs need to be educated on. Such training isn’t something that’s learned overnight, but learned with hours of both instructional text and hands-on demonstration and practice. Your employer may also make specialty classes mandatory, where you need to pass tests and/or acquire proper certification. Are you ready to step up to the challenge? Your patients are depending on you.

Nurses who wish to work in this area must have an Associated Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelors Degree (BSN) along with 2 years of experience working as an RN. Contact Unitek College to learn how you can get started in this exciting specialty area today.

About the Author:

Drew James produces content for Modular Devices. When he’s not writing, you can catch him running urban trails all over the Midwest.


All Images were provided by Modular Devices.