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Cardiac Catheterization

If you have a heart problem, open-heart surgery should be the last resort. That’s why we always start by determining whether your condition can be diagnosed and treated through a minimally invasive treatment in one of our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs.

How cardiac catheterization works

We’ll insert a thin tube into your heart through a vein to take pictures of the heart and major blood vessels, and to places stents or perform angioplasties. These procedures are simple, safe and don’t require general anesthesia—in many cases you won’t even need to stay overnight in the hospital.

Our cardiac catheterization labs have:

  • Staff on call 24 hours a day
  • Integration with emergency rooms for quick, safe care
  • Balloon angioplasty, stent, atherectomy and laser capabilities
  • Advance mapping and digital imaging technologies

Reasons for cardiac catheterization

Your cardiologist may decide to perform a cardiac catheterization if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain (angina) 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Preparing for a cardiac catheterization procedure

Your doctor may order blood and urine tests, chest X-rays or an electrocardiogram (EKG). Before the day of the procedure you’ll need to:

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital
  • Not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before
  • Provide a list of all medications you are currently taking
  • Stop taking or change the doses of some medications, as decided by your doctor

During a cardiac catheterization procedure

First you’ll receive IV fluids and medications, and an EKG will monitor your heart's activity. You’ll have local anesthesia at the insertion site. You may have the option of taking a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure, but you’ll need to stay awake so the doctor can ask you to do simple things like cough, breath out or hold your breath.

After a cardiac catheterization procedure

After cardiac catheterization, you should be able to return home the same day. If the catheter was in your arm, you’ll likely be able to get up shortly afterwards. If the catheter was inserted in your groin area, you may need to lie still in bed and flat on your back for little while longer. A pressure dressing may be placed over the insertion site to prevent bleeding.

When you return home:

  • Follow the discharge instructions the doctor gives you
  • Do not drive until your doctor says it is OK
  • Do not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous exercise or sexual activity for 5 to 7 days
  • Change the dressing around the incision area as instructed
  • Follow your doctor’s directions regarding which medications you can take, and when it’s safe to take a bath or shower

Heart Quiz

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