An invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. During this procedure, a long thin tube (called a catheter) is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart.
WHAT TO EXPECT: This procedure is performed in the hospital in the cath lab. Typically, patients are awake but sedated. An IV line will be inserted into your hand or arm to administer any medications that you might need. Monitors will also be placed on your chest to check your heartbeat during the test. Prior to inserting the catheter, you will be given a shot to numb the area. The catheter will then be inserted through a small incision.
Many different procedures can be performed in conjunction with the heart catheterization depending on the information that is needed and the information about your heart that is discovered during the procedure – Coronary Angiogram, Right Heart Catheterization/Exercise Right Heart Catheterization, Heart Biopsy, Balloon angioplasty (with or without stenting). During the procedure, you may be asked to follow different instructions such as taking deep breaths, coughing, etc. Following the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room while the anesthesia wears off. You may need to lie flat after the procedure for up to 2-6 hours.
If you have the cath through your arm, no bed rest is required. You will be required to wear an immobilizer for a short period of time after the procedure. Generally this is an outpatient procedure but always be prepared to stay overnight. In every case someone will need to bring you home.