Other tests may have been done before cardiac catheterization. The doctor may review these tests before the procedure.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking or change the doses of some medicine before the procedure.
A cardiac catherization may be done as an emergency. If this is a scheduled 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. It will numb the area and block pain.
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
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
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 to 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
The stay will depend on reason for the procedure. An overnight stay may be needed or you may go home the same day.
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 to 7 days.
Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occur
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not going as you expect or you have problems such as:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the catheter insertion site
Call for Medical Help Right Away If Any of the Following Occur
Call for medical help right away if you have symptoms including:
Drooping facial muscles
Changes in vision or speech
Difficulty walking or using your arms
Change in sensation to affected leg or arm, including numbness, feeling cold, or change in color
Extreme sweating, nausea or vomiting
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
Weakness or fainting
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
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