Cardiac Catheterization - Risks

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What Are the Risks Associated With Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is generally safe. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks. Your doctor will discuss the risks of the procedure with you.

Risks are rare but can include:

  • Bleeding around the point of puncture
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to the dye
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Perforation of a blood vessel
  • Air embolism (introduction of air into a blood vessel, which can be life-threatening)

Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have before undergoing cardiac catheterization or other tests for heart disease.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Daughter, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 05

Perforation of artery happened towards the end of my mother's cardiac catheterization procedure resulting in extreme blood loss. She had two 4 hour vascular surgeries and was intubated for 2 weeks. She got MRSA blood infection, resulting in kidney failure and death. My mom was 64 years old. Nothing is without great risk. I am a nurse.

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Comment from: Spitfire, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: January 14

My husband had quadruple bypass two years ago, also had a pacemaker put in two days after. He was given 3 huge potassium pills before his heart stopped, and then they did several things to get his heart going again, along with someone on his chest doing CPR. Reason for my telling you this is that now his heart only works 30 percent of the time, and no one knows why, and they have scheduled him for another cardiac catheterization, to hopefully find out what may have happened. Needless to say, I am scared about the procedure since the same doctor is doing the catheterization that gave him the overdose of potassium pills.

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