Reasons for Procedure
It is used to find the cause of symptoms, like chest pain, that could mean heart problems. Cardiac catheterization helps doctors to:
- Identify narrowed or clogged arteries of the heart
- Measure blood pressure within the heart
- Evaluate how well the heart valves and chambers function
- Check heart defects
- Evaluate an enlarged heart
- Decide on an appropriate treatment
If you are planning to have a cardiac catheterization, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Bleeding at the point of the catheter insertion
- Damage to arteries
- Heart attack or arrhythmia (abnormal heart beats)
- Allergic reaction to X-ray dye
- Blood clot formation
- Allergies to medicines or X-ray dye
- Bleeding disorder
- Age: 60 or older
- Recent pneumonia
- Recent heart attack
- Kidney disease
What to Expect
- Blood and urine tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) — a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
- Chest X-ray
- Stress test
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen )
- Blood thinners, like warfarin (Coumadin)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Metformin (Glucophage) or glyburide and metformin (Glucovance)
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
- The night before, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Local anesthesia will be used at the insertion site. A mild sedative may be given one hour before the procedure or through an IV (needle in your arm) during the procedure. This will help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
During the procedure, you will receive IV fluids and medicines. An EKG will be monitoring your heart's activity.
How Long Will It Take?
The procedure takes about 1 to 2 hours. Preparation before the test will take another 1 to 2 hours.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Although the procedure is generally not painful, it can cause some discomfort, including:
- Burning sensation (when skin at catheter insertion site is anesthetized)
- Pressure when catheter is inserted or replaced with other catheters
- A flushing feeling or nausea when the dye is injected
- Heart palpitations
At the Care Center
- EKG and blood studies may be done.
- If the catheter was inserted in the groin area, you will likely need to lie still in bed and flat on your back for a period of time. If catheter was in the arm, you will likely be out of bed sooner.
- A pressure dressing may be placed over the area where the catheter was inserted to help prevent bleeding. It is important to follow the nurse's directions.
- Do not drive until your doctor says it is okay.
- Do not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous exercise or sexual activity for at least 5 to 7 days.
- Change the dressing around the incision area as instructed.
- Your doctor will explain to you which medicines you can take and which ones to avoid. Take medicines as instructed.
- To lower your risk for further complications of heart disease, you can make lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Extreme sweating, nausea, or vomiting
- Change in sensation to affected leg or arm, including numbness, feeling cold, or change in color
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or discharge where catheter was inserted
- Cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- Extreme pain
- Chest pain
- Drooping facial muscles
- Changes in vision or speech
- Difficulty walking or using your limbs