It is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat the conditions of heart. For cardiac catheterization, a thin long flexible tube called catheter is inserted from the arm or groin (upper thigh) into the left or right side of the heart. It is through the catheter that the doctor takes diagnostic tests of your heart.
The doctor may perform cardiac catheterization to assess the following conditions of your heart:
Coronary artery disease
Cardiac amyloidosis (disorder in the heart tissue)
Cardiomyopathy or reasons of the congestive heart failure
Issues with the heart valves
Pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the lung arteries
Congenital heart defects
Cardiac catheterization is also done as a part of other major procedures like Angioplasty, Heart Valve Repair or Replacement, Balloon Valvuloplasty and Cardiac Ablation.
Eating or drinking 6-8 hours prior the test is strictly prohibited as it may increase complications arising from anesthesia
Inform your doctor in case you are allergic to any specific medication or take any drug for erectile dysfunction
Notify your doctor in case you’ve had a severe reaction caused from iodine or contrast dye previously
Notify your doctor if there is a doubt of pregnancy
The doctor performs the test in a special operating room equipped with imaging machines and special X-ray. The intravenous (IV) line is inserted into the vein through the passage of neck, arm or groin. Following that, a sheath (thin plastic tube) is inserted in your leg to access artery or vein. Then, longer tubes of plastic called catheters are moved up into the heart with the help of live X-rays so the doctor can:
Examine the condition of your heart and level of oxygen across different parts of the body
Treat your heart muscle with biopsy
Inject a dye to visualize the vessels and structures within your heart
In case of blockage, place stent during the test
The test usually takes 30-60 minutes and you may be asked to lie flat on your back after the test to prevent bleeding.
After cardiac catheterization, you are required to rest for 1 to 3 hours in the hospital till the anaesthesia effect goes away.
As catheter is inserted into your body, this will restrict your movement. After the catheter is removed, you will be asked to rest in the hospital and apply pressure at the site till bleeding stops.
Depending on your medical condition, you may be allowed to go home the same day (if no other procedure is advised after cardiac catheterization).
Even while you show signs of improvement, you may be asked to visit the doctor again to ensure the blood pressure and heart rate are normal and also to ensure that there are no signs of infection, swelling, redness or unusual pain.
Besides, you may also have to avoid heavy lifting for a short period of time after the procedure is done.
Risk and Complications
Cardiac catheterization is entirely a safe procedure when performed by a team of expert doctors. Although rare, there are certain risk involved.
Following are the risks involved with cardiac catheterization:
Damage to a coronary artery
Low blood pressure
Reaction to the contrast dye
Injury to blood vessels
If you have any additional questions, call toll free 1800-1022-733.
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