You may have had angina, dizziness, or other symptoms of heart trouble. To help diagnose your problem, your doctor may suggest having a cardiac catheterization. This common procedure is sometimes also used to treat a heart problem.
Before the Procedure
- Tell your doctor what medicines you take and about any allergies you have.
- Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before the procedure.
- You’ll likely be admitted to the hospital on the day of the procedure.
- Know that the skin where the catheter will be inserted may be shaved. You may be given medication to relax before the procedure.
During the Procedure
- You will receive a local anesthetic to prevent pain at the insertion site.
- The doctor inserts an introducing sheath into a blood vessel in your groin or arm.
- Through the sheath, a long, thin tube called a catheter is placed inside the artery and guided toward your heart.
- To perform different tests or check other parts of the heart, the doctor inserts a new catheter or moves the catheter or x-ray machine.
- For some tests, a contrast dye is injected through the catheter.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
- Angina (chest pain).
- Pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or drainage at the insertion site.
- Severe pain, coldness, or a bluish color in the leg or arm that held the catheter.
- Blood in your urine, black or tarry stools, or any other kind of bleeding.
- Fever over 101.0 F.
After the Procedure
- You need to remain lying down for 2-12 hours.
- If the insertion site was in your groin, you may need to lie down with your leg still for several hours.
- A nurse will check your blood pressure and the insertion site.
- You may be asked to drink fluid to help flush the contrast liquid out of your system.
- Have someone drive you home from the hospital.
- It’s normal to find a small bruise or lump at the insertion site. These common side effects should disappear within a few weeks.