Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking or change the doses of some medicine before the procedure.
Leading up to your procedure:
Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
The night before, don't eat or drink anything after midnight.
A local anesthesia will be used at the insertion site.
A mild sedative may be given 1 hour before the procedure. It may also be given through an IV during the procedure. This will help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
During the procedure:
Fluids and medicines will be given through IV
An EKG will monitor the heart’s activity
You will be awake. Medicine will help you stay relaxed. The care team may ask you to do some tasks. This may include coughing, breathing out, and holding your breath. You will also need to tell the care team if you have problems. This may include chest pain, lightheadedness, nausea, tingling, or other discomfort.
An area in the groin or arm will be cleaned and numbed. A needle will be inserted into a blood vessel. A wire will be passed through the needle and into the blood vessel. It is then passed until it reaches your heart. A soft, flexible tube will then be slipped over the wire and passed up to your heart.
Insertion of Catheter with Guide Wire through the Groin
An x-ray tool will show where the wire and catheter are. Dye will be passed into the arteries of the heart. This will highlight the arteries and heart on the x-ray images. You may feel a warm flush when the dye is injected.
The catheter can then take measurements. Pressure can be measured in the heart's different chambers. Blood samples may also be taken. Many images will be taken to look for any disease in the blood vessels. After all the tests and images are complete, the catheter will be removed.
Other procedures may be done if there is an artery that is narrow or clogged. This may include a balloon angioplasty and stenting. They will help to open the arteries up.
A bandage will be placed over the area when it is all done.
How Long Will It Take?
The procedure itself takes about 30-90 minutes. Total time will be several hours with recovery and preparation.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Although the procedure is generally not painful, it can cause some discomfort, including:
A burning feeling when the insertion site is numbed
Pressure when the catheter is moved around or replaced
A flushing feeling or nausea when the dye is injected
Pain medicines will be given when needed.
Average Hospital Stay
At the Care Center
ECG and blood tests may be done.
If the catheter was inserted in the groin area, you will lie still in bed. You will need to be flat on your back for a period of time. If the catheter was in your arm, you will be out of bed sooner.
A pressure dressing may be placed over the area where the catheter was inserted. It will help to stop bleeding. It is important to follow instructions.
There will be some limits in the first few days. You will need to avoid heavy lifting and intense activity for 5-7 days. This will include avoiding sex until the doctor says it is safe to do so.
Follow lifestyle habits that will improve your heart health such as:
Eat a heart healthy diet which should include:
Plenty of vegetables, fruits, and fiber
Focus on healthy fats such as those from fish, seeds, and nuts
Cardiac catheterization. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/16832-cardiac-catheterization. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Cardiac catheterization. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/cardiac-catheterization. Updated April 26, 2013. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Preparing for cardiac catheterization. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/heart/resources/preparing-for-cardiac-procedures-and-studies/cardiac-catheterization.html. Accessed July 3, 2018.
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