Many questions in my inbox are about Cardiac Catheterization and why you may need one. So, let’s jump in. It’s an important topic.
A Cardiac Catheterization is a procedure performed by doctors to help diagnose and treat heart problems.
➡ This test can measure the pressure and oxygen levels in the different chambers of the heart
➡ Determine the amount of blood pumped by the heart
➡ Find heart defects that have been present since birth, and
➡ Help diagnose heart valve problems
In addition to cardiac catheterization, a Coronary Angiogram is often performed to help find blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
- If a significant blockage is found, a doctor may be able to treat it by inflating a tiny balloon in the artery and then placing a small metallic tube called a stent to keep the vessel propped open.
Answering another question, here’s an explanation of how the Cardiac Catheterization is performed.
➡ The patient is usually awake, but may may be sedated if they’re too nervous to be awake during the procedure.
➡ The doctor administers a local anesthetic to numb the site over the blood vessel, (usually in the groin, wrist, or neck).
➡ When the area is numb, the doctor uses a needle to help place a plastic tube called a sheath into the blood vessel.
➡ He or she then inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) and advances it toward the heart using x-ray imaging for guidance.
The catheter can be used to measure pressure, take blood samples, or perform a coronary angiogram.
An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or a vein by injecting dye into it. This allows the doctor to examine the arteries of the heart.
➡ Once the procedure is completed, the catheters and sheaths are removed.
➡ Pressure is held at the site of the puncture to prevent bleeding, and a special device is used to close the hole in the artery area, which helps in healing.
So, let’s talk about Cardiac Catheterization and why YOU may need one.
A number of heart-related problems can be diagnosed and managed more thoroughly:
- Heart valve problems: Click these links to learn more:
- Congestive heart failure
- Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs).
Cardiac catheterization with coronary angiography is also commonly performed in patients who are having a heart attack or experiencing chest pain that is not relieved by medications or who have an abnormal stress test result.
The Risks of Cardiac Catheterization
This procedure is very common and generally safe.
- The most common problems after cardiac catheterization are bruising and tenderness at the puncture site.
Rare but more serious risks due to cardiac catheterization include :
- Significant bleeding or blood vessel injury
- Allergic reactions to the contrast dyes
- Potential kidney injury
- Stroke, heart attack, or death
If your doctor recommends this procedure you should discuss these risks as well as the benefits of the procedure prior to the test.
If you do not get clear answers that satisfy your need for the information, change doctors. Seriously.
A major part of getting a correct diagnosis, the right treatment and having a successful outcome after catheterization is the clear, honest, communication with your physician.
For More Information visit the American Heart Association