- What Is
What is cardiac catheterization?
A thin, narrow tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel of an arm or a leg, and is guided to the arteries of the heart using an X-ray camera. The doctor then injects contrast dye into the blood vessel through the catheter to get an X-ray view of the valves, arteries, and the heart chambers.
What is the difference between left and right heart catheterization?
- Catheterization of the left side of the heart is performed by passing the catheter through the artery.
- In catheterization of the right side of the heart, the catheter passes through the veins.
Why is cardiac catheterization done?
Cardiac catheterization is done for diagnosing the following heart conditions:
- Atherosclerosis: Deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and clotting materials, known as fibrin in the innermost layer of arteries (endothelium), which results in clogging of the arteries.
- Cardiomyopathy: Enlargement of the heart due to thickening or weakening of the heart muscle.
- Congenital heart disease: Defects in one or more heart structures formed during fetal development.
- Heart failure: A condition in which the heart muscles become too weak to pump blood well, leading to congestion in the blood vessels and lungs.
- Heart valve disease: Failure of one or more heart valves, leading to reduced blood flow within the heart.
- To determine the extent of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with confusing clinical presentations
Who should not undergo cardiac catheterization?
Patients with the following conditions shouldn’t undergo cardiac catheterization:
- Severe uncontrolled blood pressure
- Severe anemia
- Kidney failure
- Allergic to contrast dyes
- Heavy bleeding in the stomach and intestine
- Abnormal changes in the electrolytes
- Severe coagulopathy (impaired ability of the body to clot)
- Ventricular arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat in the heart chamber)
- Untreated infection or unexplained fever
How to prepare for a cardiac catheterization?
Your physician will explain the procedure, along with its risks and benefits. In addition, you will also be instructed to do the following:
- Sign an informed consent
- What foods and liquids can be taken 24 hours before the test
- Fast for six to eight hours before the cath procedure
- Inform the doctor of any allergies to the dyes used in the cath procedure.
- Inform the doctor about any medical and medication history, especially any drug allergies.
- Stop taking specific medicines before the procedure.
- Ask someone to accompany you during the procedure.
IMAGESBrowse through our medical image collection to see illustrations of human anatomy and physiology See Images
What happens during a cardiac catheterization?
- Before the cath procedure, a nurse will put an intravenous (IV) line into the vein of the arm to inject sedatives to make you relax.
- Your doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, where the catheter goes in.
- The groin area is cleaned and shaved. The doctor will puncture your skin with a needle to gain access to the blood vessel.
- The doctor will insert an instrument known as an introducer sheath from which the catheter advances toward the blood vessels. You might feel some pressure. If you feel any pain, immediately inform the doctor.
- When the catheter reaches the arteries, it will inject a small amount of dye into the arteries.
- The X-ray camera will take pictures of your arteries and heart chambers. The catheter is removed gradually once the procedure ends.
What happens after cardiac catheterization?
You will be sent to the recovery room for a few hours. During this time:
- Pressure will be applied to the puncture site to stop bleeding
- You will have to lie straight on the bed.
- Your vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse will be checked during your recovery
- Inform the doctor about any swelling, pain, or bleeding at the puncture site.
How serious is a heart catheterization?
A heart cath is generally very safe. But as with any procedure, there are some risks with heart catheterization too.
Latest Heart News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Left and Right Heart Catheterization Related Articles
What Are the Common Complications of Pulmonary Artery Pressure Monitoring?A pulmonary artery catheterization is a procedure of inserting a long, thin tube (catheter) into a pulmonary artery that carries blood between the heart and lungs to diagnose and manage various cardiovascular problems like heart failure.
Congenital Heart DefectsCongenital heart defects are heart problems that are present at birth. Genetics may play a role in some heart defects. Symptoms can range from nonexistent to severe and life-threatening. Fatigue, rapid breathing, and decreased blood circulation are a few possible symptoms of congenital heart defects. Many cases do not require any treatment. Procedures using catheters and surgery may be used to repair severe heart defects.
Coronary Heart Disease Screening Tests (CAD)
Coronary heart disease or coronary heart disease (CAD) screening tests can be used to potentially prevent a heart attack or cardiac event in a person without heart disease symptoms, and can assist in diagnosing heart disease in individuals with heart disease symptoms. Examples of coronary heart disease tests include:
- electrocardiogram (ECC, EKG),
- exercise stress test,
- radionuclide stress test,
- stress echocardiography,
- pharmacologic stress test,
- CT coronary angiogram, and
- coronary angiogram.
What Is the Difference Between Electrocardiogram and Electrocardiograph?An electrocardiogram or electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG) are the same thing. An EKG is a test that examines the heart function by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. Based on the electrocardiogram, the doctor determines whether the electrical activity of the heart is normal or irregular, aiding in diagnosis of various heart problems.
Foods That Are Bad for Your HeartIf you want a healthy ticker, there are some foods you’ll want to indulge in every now and then only. Find out which ones and how to make healthy substitutes.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Heart Disease in WomenHeart disease in women has somewhat different symptoms, risk factors, and treatment compared to heart disease in men. Many women and health professionals are not aware of the risk factors for heart disease in women and may delay diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, tobacco use, overweight/obesity, stress, alcohol consumption, and depression influence heart disease risk in women. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes also increase women's risk of heart disease. Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), stress-ECG, endothelial testing, ankle-brachial index (ABI), echocardiogram, nuclear imaging, electron beam CT, and lab tests to assess blood lipids and biomarkers of inflammation are used to diagnose heart disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women saves lives. Heart disease can be prevented and reversed with lifestyle changes.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease SlideshowHeart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may differ from men. Use a heart disease risk calculator to determine your heart attack risk.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Heart Disease Treatment in Women
Heart disease treatment in women should take into account female-specific guidelines that were developed by the American Heart Association. Risk factors and symptoms of heart disease in women differ from those in men. Treatment may include lifestyle modification (diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction), medications, percutaneous intervention procedure (PCI), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Heart disease is reversible with treatment.
Heart SymptomsHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
Stress and Heart DiseaseThe connection between stress and heart disease is not clear. Stress itself may be a risk factor, or high levels of stress may make risk factors for heart disease worse. The warning signs of stress can be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral. Reducing stressors in an individuals life not only can lead to a more productive life, but may also decrease the risk for heart disease and causes of heart disease.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from A Transradial Heart Catheterization?Transradial Cardiac catheterization is performed using local anesthesia, and may take an hour or more, depending on the procedure performed. The patient usually feels nothing more than a short stinging pain from the initial numbing injection. The patient will be administered painkillers and mild sedation before the procedure. There might be a certain amount of post-procedural soreness that can be resolved with painkillers.
Why Are Ventricular Repair (Cardiorrhaphy) Procedures Performed?Ventricular repair is also called cardiorrhaphy. It is a lifesaving procedure performed for cardiac (heart) trauma in the emergency room (ER). The indications for emergency thoracotomy with or without cardiorrhaphy include cardiac arrest (heart attack) in patients with penetrating chest injuries, persistent hypotension (decreased blood pressure) or signs of cardiac tamponade, and cardiac arrest in the emergency room (ER) following a blunt trauma.