What Is a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
Cardiac catheterization is performed so doctors can see how efficiently your heart works and whether you have any heart problems. This intervention is also used as part of other procedures to correct heart problems, such as coronary angioplasty to widen a narrowed artery in the heart.
During cardiac catheterization, a thin, hollow tube called a catheter is carefully inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart. A contrast dye is then injected through the catheter so it can flow through your arteries and reveal potential heart problems on an X-ray. Doctors use this test to detect blocked arteries and gain a more precise view of your heart during certain treatments and procedures.
Who Needs a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention, When Do They Need It, and Why?
A cardiac catheterization intervention is performed on those who may be experiencing symptoms of heart disease and other heart problems. This test is often included as part of heart disease screening and can detect narrowed or blocked blood vessels that may be contributing to chest pain and tightness. Cardiac catheterization may also be done to measure oxygen and pressure in the heart, check the heart’s pumping function, and diagnose congenital heart defects.
Which Tests Do You Need Before a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
Your doctor may order one or more blood tests before cardiac catheterization, including a chest X-ray and electrocardiogram. The number and type of tests you will need before this procedure will vary depending on your general health and heart symptoms.
Which Tests Do You Need After a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
If cardiac catheterization is being performed as a test itself, your doctor will discuss your results with you along with treatment options for your heart condition. If this intervention is being performed as part of another heart procedure, your doctor may order tests specific to your condition. Ask your doctor about tests you may be asked to undergo following cardiac catheterization.
How Do You Prepare for a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
Your doctor will instruct you not to eat or drink anything for up to eight hours before cardiac catheterization. Inform your doctor about any medicines and medications you currently use, including herbal supplements and vitamins, since these may interfere with your procedure and medications used for sedation and anesthesia. You must also tell your doctor about any allergies you have, including allergies to iodine, shellfish, rubber, latex, and contrast dye.
What Happens During a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
This procedure lasts about one hour and takes place at the hospital in a cardiac catheterization lab. Shortly after arriving for your appointment, you will be sedated and receive anesthesia. During cardiac catheterization, your doctor inserts a long, thin catheter through the skin on your groin, neck, or arm, and into a large blood vessel. The steps that take place next depend on the reason you’re having this procedure.
For an angiography, contrast dye will be injected into the catheter so your doctor can gain a clear view of your heart and the way it functions. If you’re undergoing a biopsy, a small medical device will be inserted through the catheter to remove a tissue sample from your heart. When the intervention is complete, your doctor will remove the catheter and apply pressure to the puncture site to prevent bleeding.
What Happens After a Cardiac Catheterization Intervention?
Following your cardiac catheterization intervention, you will rest in a recovery room for several hours while the medical staff monitors your vital signs. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on what to do after you get home, especially if cardiac catheterization was part of another medical procedure.
A small bruise at the catheter insertion site is normal. Contact your doctor immediately if the puncture site appears swollen or oozes fluid, or if your limb with the puncture feels cold, numb, or tingly. Contact emergency services if the puncture site swells up unusually fast or continues to bleed even when pressing it on firmly.
CareCube offers primary care and cardiovascular services designed to help you maintain good heart health. Contact us today to request an appointment and begin the treatment process.