Medical Technology

Cardiac Catheterization



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Cardiac Catheterization is the way that the dye test of coronary angiography is done.

You need to be in the hospital while having this procedure done by your heart specialist. They will give you a sedative as you don't really need to be put out for this. But the sedative will make you feel more relaxed and less apprehensive. Next, you will put on a hospital gown, and lay flat on an X-ray table.

They will prep the area they are entering with betadine to sterilize it. Next, the cardiac catheter is placed into an area on the body where it leads into the heart area. This could be your groin, or maybe the arm or neck. The cardiologist knows exactly how to thread this catheter within your arteries, and as this is done, they use some x-rays that are specialized to see how well or unwell your arteries are working. A dye is then shot into the catheter. There is no pains really felt or anything with the procedure. The only thing you may have a small feeling of is a bit of a soreness from where the doctor has placed the catheter. The procedure shouldn't cause you any medical complications.

After the procedure is finished, the catheter will be taken out, and the area where the catheter was placed, bandaged. They may need to apply some lightweight on that area just in case you do have some bleeding after the test.

You will go to a recovery room after this procedure takes place for awhile to rest for several hours and also so that nurses can watch you for side effects of bleeding afterwords. If you have a lot of other medical problems that might cause some side effects from this procedure, you may be kept in the hospital overnight as a possibility.

The risks from the procedure are few. It can cause you to have an irregular heartbeat, or a possible allergic reaction to the dye they put in. It is not very common, but there could be some blood vessel complications resulting. This only happens though in cases where the procedure is improperly done. It is always the highly trained doctors that perform this test for that very reason.

Anyone that has had any coronary problems or heart diseases should have this test done. It is also used as a preventive measure before you do have an actual big heart attack. Some other reasons are:

You have angina and the chest pains bother you a great deal and you are taking a lot of Nitroglycerin for it.

A person that has a serious complication of sudden cardiac arrest. This is where the heart stops beating suddenly. If they can restart the heart, then cardiac catheterization will need to be done to conduct the angiography, to see what is going on exactly.

If your EKG or Holter monitor results look as though you are having heart problems, you will need the cardiac catheterization to find out extensively the details of what is happening.

This test is often done in situations that do become an emergency such as a heart attack right then. This is used in combination of doing an angioplasty where a stent is often place to hold the area open so it won't close again. The cardiac catheterization with angiogarphy in this case can tell the heart specialist which artery is causing the offending blockage so that blood can't go through.

The cardiac catheterization also can tell your treating heart doctor what he or she needs to do for your heart problems as far as medications are concerned.

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