Cardiac catheterization represents a medical procedure used by physicians to diagnose and treat blocked arteries as well as to measure heart chamber pressures. During the procedure, a physician threads a long, extremely thin tube referred to as a catheter in an artery or vein located in the arms, neck, or groin. The physician manipulates the thin tube through the artery or vein to your heart.
By using a catheter, physicians can perform diagnostic tests, as well as treat heart ailments such as heart blockages or heart attacks. The typical recovery time for a cardiac catheterization is quicker than the recovery time of most other types of medical procedures. Most patients receive sedation during the procedure to make them sleepy and relaxed.
THE REASONS FOR A CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION
Patients receive cardiac catheterizations for one or more of the following reasons:
- Heart biopsy
- Heart ablation
- Coronary angiogram
- Repair of heart defects
- Balloon valvuloplasty
- Valve replacement
- Balloon angioplasty/stenting
- Right heart catheterization
A consultation with Dr. Chadda before a cardiac catheterization will help you understand the reason for implementing the procedure. Dr. Chadda might inject contrast dye through a catheter to search for blocked coronary arteries. He also uses the procedure to take blood samples for measuring the blood oxygen level within each of the four hear chambers. Another common reason to thread a thin tube through a vein or artery is to discover heart valve and/or chamber defects. A heart biopsy requires using a catheter to remove heart tissue for examination under a powerful microscope.
HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR THE PROCEDURE?
Our team of heart specialists recommends patients refrain from drinking and eating anything for at least six hours before a cardiac catheterization. Consult with Dr. Chadda first to determine your length of medical fasting. Ask Dr. Chadda whether you should take any of the medications prescribed to you. Diabetics must receive instruction about the standards for taking insulin and diabetic medicines before a cardiac catheterization. Because of the slight risk for bleeding, Dr. Chadda might recommend you stop taking any blood thinning medications a specified amount of time before and after the procedure. Some of the blood thinning medications to avoid right before and after a cardiac catherization include Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Coumadin, Pradaxa, Eliquis, or Xarelto.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF A CARDIAC CATHERIZATION?
As with any procedure conducted on the heart and surrounding vessels, a cardiac catherization poses a few minor risks that we rarely see. You might experience bruising and or bleeding near the point of catheter insertion. Damage to the vein or artery where the tube was threaded might require more medical attention. You can also experience a minor allergic reaction to the dye or heart medication. Minor strokes and irregular heart rhythms are very rare.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A CARDIAC CATHERIZATION?
Dr. Chadda performs a cardiac catherization in an operating room equipped with specialized x-ray and imaging machines that are not typically used in standard operating rooms. Although most procedures unfold while patients are awake, you might require sedation for procedures such as valve repair, heart ablation, and valve replacement.
An intravenous tube inserts into one of your arms or hands to supply any medications you need to make it through the procedure in excellent health. Monitors attached on the chest monitor vital signs, including your heart rate during any of the tests our team of cardiovascular specialists conducts.
Dr, Chadda asks for the application of an anesthetic to numb the area surrounding where we insert the catheter a few minutes before the start of a cardiac cathetrization. You might feel pain before the numbness quickly forms around the area where we insert the tube. After the area on your body turns numb, we insert a plastic sheath that offers a smooth surface for the catheter to slide through a vein or artery.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
After a cardiac catheterization, our team of cardiovascular specialists will bring you to a recovery room for a few hours of recuperation. While you lie flat face up on a table, we will ask you to maintain straight arms and legs to encourage blood flow. We will monitor all of your vital signs, with special attention paid to your heart rate and blood pressure. After we leave the room, we ask patients to report immediately any pain and/or bleeding at or near the area where we inserted the catheter.
When the time comes to go home, we give you a set of detailed instructions for caring for the puncture area. A small bruise that forms around the puncture area is considered normal; bleeding is not normal and you should contact our facility for instructions on how to care for any bleeding.
A cardiac catherization is a relatively simple heart diagnostic and testing procedure that allows healthcare professionals to detect and take care of a wide range of heart problems. Most patients return to regular routines within 24 hours of the procedure. We do advise no driving for 2-3 days after the procedure and no lifting of more than 10-15 lbs for one week after the procedure.