Cardiac Catheterisation


Cardiac Catheterisation is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions involving the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart. Once the catheter is in place, it can be used to perform a number of investigational and therapeutic procedures, mainly coronary angiography involving the catheterisation of the coronary arteries and catheterisation of cardiac chambers and valves.

Cardiac catheterisation 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 threaded through your blood vessels toward your heart with the aid of a special imaging equipment. Once the catheter is in place, a contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that the x-ray pictures of the coronary arteries, valves and heart chambers can be taken by the x-ray machine to produce real-time images. Some heart disease treatments such as coronary angioplasty are also done using cardiac catheterisation.


What to Expect?

Food and fluid are restricted four to six 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 may 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 catheterisation. A simple coronary angiography procedure only takes about 30 minutes, one to two hours for coronary intervention procedures such as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty/stenting procedure. An average of six to nine hours is spend from preparation till the recovery time.


Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterisation

The cardiac catheterisation procedure is performed in a Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory by our skilled invasive cardiologists to evaluate cardiac valvular disease, coronary artery disease, congenital heart abnormalities or disease of the aorta, and assisted by trained healthcare professionals. It may also be used to determine the need for cardiac surgery.

During cardiac catheterisation, other tests may be done and these include tests that:

  • Measure blood pressure and blood flowing in the heart chambers
  • Measure blood oxygen saturation level in the heart chambers
  • Evaluate heart muscle function


Therapeutic Cardiac Catheterisation

Cardiac catheterisation may also be used to treat certain heart problems without having the patient undergoing major cardiac surgery. Therapeutic catheterisation may be used to restore flow to obstructed arteries by the use of a balloon, stents or grafts and may also be used to open stenotic (narrow) heart valves and to repair congenital defects.

Angioplasty opens clogged arteries. It is done 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. Metallic stents may be placed permanently inside the clogged arteries to help keep it open.

Other treatments for coronary artery disease that may be done using cardiac catheterisation:

  • An atherectomy removes plaque from artery walls using a special cutting device.
  • Medications can be delivered through the catheter to dissolve a blood clot in an artery.


Potential Risks

The risks of cardiac catheterisation 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.


Operating Hours

8:30 am – 5:30 pm       (Monday – Friday)
8:30 am – 12.30 pm     (Saturday)

* The Cardiologist and staff are on call 24/7 to respond to any cardiac emergency that may arise.


Where are we located?

1 st Floor (within the Main Operating Theatre Complex), Mahkota Medical Centre


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