Cardiac Catheterization

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization 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 Catheterization

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.

Day of the Procedure

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.

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.

After the Procedure

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.

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