Cardiac catheterization involves the passage of a catheter (a thin flexible tube) into the right or left side of the heart. The catheter may be introduced either through an artery or vein in the arm or groin(upper thigh) which is then gently guided toward your heart with the aid of a special x-ray machine. Once the catheter is in place, a contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that x-ray movies of the valves, coronary artery and heart chambers can be taken by the x-ray machine to produces real-time images.
What to Expect?
Food and fluid are restricted six to eight hours before the test. You will be admitted a few hours before the test is performed. Your cardiologist will explain the procedure and its risks. A witnessed, signed consent for the procedure is required. You will be given a mild sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax but you will be awake and able to follow instructions during the catheterization. A simple coronary angiography procedure only takes about 30 minutes, longer if you are having an angioplasty procedure, but plan to spend about 6 to 9 hours from preparation through the recovery time.
Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization
The cardiac catheterization procedure is usually performed in a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory by a trained cardiologist to evaluate cardiac valvular disease, coronary artery disease, congenital heart abnormalities or disease of the aorta. It may also be used to determine the need for cardiac surgery.
During cardiac catheterization, other tests may be done and these include tests that:
- Measure blood pressure in the heart chambers
- Measure the amount of blood the heart pumps
- Measure blood oxygen saturation level in the heart chambers
- Evaluate heart muscle function
Coronary Angiography or Coronary Arteriography is the most common cardiac catheterization procedure performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. This procedure which involves the injection of special contrast media(dye) into the coronary artery can show whether you have coronary artery disease.
Therapeutic Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization may also be used to treat certain heart problems without having the patient undergoing major cardiac surgery. Therapeutic catheterization may be used to restore flow to obstructed arteries by use of a balloon, stents, or grafts. Catheterization may also be used to open stenotic (narrow) heart valves and to repair congenital defects.
Angioplasty opens clogged arteries. IT does this by compressing plaque against the artery wall. A catheter with a small balloon at its tip is moved to where the artery is clogged. The balloon is inflated and deflated a few times. This compresses the plaque, opens the artery and increases blood flow. Sometime, metallic stents may be placed permanently inside the clogged arteries to help keep it open.
Other treatments for coronary artery disease may be done using cardiac catheterization:
- Atherectomy removes plaque from artery walls using a special catheter.
- Medications can be delivered through the catheter to dissolve a blood clot in an artery.
The risks of cardiac catheterization are fairly slow. The test is very safe when performed by an experienced team and they are most often outweighed by the benefits of knowing your heart's condition.
8:30 am - 5:30 pm (Monday - Friday)
8:30 am - 1:00 pm (Saturday)
* Cardiologist and staff are on call 24/7 to respond to any cardiac emergency that may arise.
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Where is it Located?
1 st Floor (within the Main Operating Theatre Complex), Mahkota Medical Centre