Cardiac Catheterization

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization, also known as a cardiac cath, is a procedure that allows our cardiologists to look at your heart’s arteries (blood vessels) and valves. It shows if your arteries have any blockages and how well your heart is pumping. It can also tell us how well your heart valves are working. The catheterization typically takes about 1 hour to complete.

Preparing for a Cardiac Catheter

Before undergoing this procedure, please check your health insurance policy to see if you may need approval. If you are taking Coumadin/Warfarin or Pradaxa, please call your doctor to find out when it should be stopped. If you are not already on Aspirin, call us to see if you should start taking it at least one week before the cardiac catheterization. You may take your usual medicines will a small sip of water unless Dr. Ahuja tells you not to. This includes Aspirin and Plavix.

It is important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the catheterization. You should either make a list of current medications that you take or bring the medicine bottles with you. If you have diabetes, do not take any diabetic medications including Metformin, Glucophage, Glucovance or Insulin the day of your procedure. Also, please let the nurse know if you have a contrast dye (Iodine) allergy.

We recommend that you wear comfortable clothes and leave any valuable items at home. You may wear eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures during the catheterization. The scheduled time for your procedure may change if there are emergencies. You may want to bring some reading material with you.

Risks of Getting a cardiac Catheter

While a cardiac catheterization is generally regarded as a safe procedure, it does come with the associated risks of any invasive surgery. Some risks to this procedure include:
Cardiac Catheterization

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Abnormal heart beat
  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection

Other, very rare, risks can include heart attack, stroke, or death. Our doctors at Premier Cardiology Consultants ensure patient safety by thoroughly preparing for each individual procedure. Always be sure to ask your doctor about all the possible side effects and risks of your procedure.

Cardiac Catheterization Procedure

You will be given medicine to help you relax. Dr. Ahuja will first numb the area by your wrist or upper thigh depending on where the catheter will be placed. A catheter (thin tube) will be placed into a blood vessel in your wrist or upper thigh (groin). The thin tube will then be moved into your heart. Pictures will be taken using a special x-ray camera.

How Long Does a Cardiac Catheterization Take?

This procedure can take anywhere between half an hour to two hours to perform. The preparation, however, can elongate the process by several hours. Be prepared to have your schedule cleared for the day when you are receiving a cardiac catheter. It’s best to assume you will be in the hospital for the entire day of your procedure.

Cardiac Cath Recovery

Once your procedure is finished, you will go to the recovery room and be monitored for at least 2 hours. A medical history, physical, electrocardiogram (EKG), and/or blood work may be done. If a balloon or stent was used to open a blocked blood vessel, you will need to stay in the hospital for at least one night. You should not plan on going to work or making any other plans the day of your procedure. Please arrange for someone to drive you home. You cannot drive or use public transportation that day.

Schedule A Consultation

Contact Premier Cardiology Consultants to schedule your consultation for a cardiac catheterization today! Call us at 516-437-5600 for our Lake Success office, 516-437-5600 for our Forest Hills office, or 718-441-0299 for our Richmond Hill office. We look forward to assisting you.

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