Cardiac Catheterization is an x-ray procedure that invloves a
catheter being introduced through a vessel in the groin or the arm.
Numbing medicine is used to prepare the site so that minimal discomfort
should occur during the procedure. The catheter is then advanced toward
the heart to the base of the aorta where the coronary arteries
originate. When the tip of the catheter reaches the opening of these
arteries, a contrast agent is then injected which illuminates the
vessels under x-ray examination. Your doctor can see if there are any
obstructions in the three main arteries of the heart.
Also, during the procdedure, your doctor will place a catheter in
the left ventricle or the main pumping chamber in the heart, to take
some pressure measurements as well as inject more contrast to see how
well the heart is functioning. During this part of the examination you
will have a brief warm sensation that will pass in about a minute. The
entire procedure should take about 30 minutes.
- Drink plenty of fluids over the next 24 hours after the procedure.
(The purpose is to flush the contrast out, and to keep it from settling
into the kidneys).
- Do not bend over, strain or lift heavy objects until the
next day. If you feel you are about to cough, apply pressure to the
site and cough as lightly as possible.
- If bleeding occurs from the entry site, apply direct
pressure, contact your doctor, and summon for help at home in the mean
- Remove the dressing from the entry site the following day.
- Some bruising may be seen the following day which is not unusual and may take a couple of days to resolve.
- There may be a knot or lump under the entry site which will
subside in two or three weeks. If there is any enlargement or swelling
to the entry site, call your doctor.