Cardiac Catheterization

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What is a Cardiac Catheterization ?

A Cardiac Catheterization is a safe and effective test to examine how well your heart is working and its blood supply. A thin tube is placed into your artery in your groin/arm and then reed-like, thinner tubes, are guided to your heart. The doctor then injects iodine containing dye to see if there are any blockages in the blood vessels that supply your heart and, in the heart cavity, to check heart muscle function.

A Cardiac Catheterization Allows the Physician to:

  • Determine blood supply and function

  • Measure pressures in parts of your heart

  • If possible, the physician may be able to open blockages with expandable metal tubes called stents

  • It may be associated with a 1% risk of bleeding at the groin and 0.03% risk of a heart attack, stroke or death.

 

What to Expect:

  • You may be at the hospital 6 to 8 hours; you will always need to be accompanied by someone

  • The test is done while you are awake, though sedated

  • After you are numb, hollow tubes are inserted to the level of your heart.

 

How to Prepare:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after 12 am the night before your procedure. Having food or drink in your stomach can increase your risk of complications from anesthesia.

  • Your doctor may recommend you stop taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or Eliquis or Pradaxa. Usually, you will be told if the Aspirin or Plavix or Brilinta or Effient needs to be stopped.

  • If you take medications in the morning, do not take them. Instead, bring your medications to the test with you. It's best if you take the original bottles so that your doctor will know the exact dose you take.

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