Has your doctor told you that you have heart problems?
Have you had a heart attack or maybe chest pain?
If so, a cardiac catheterization procedure may be needed to give us an inside look at how your heart is operating.
We’ll review what a cardiac catheterization is, what happens during a cardiac catheterization, and when you would need one.
What Is a Cardiac Catheterization?
Heart catheterization is a test that uses contrast dye that shows up on X-rays to look at your heart in detail. This test is also called cardiac catheterization.
During the procedure, your healthcare provider will put a small tube called a catheter through your skin and into a blood vessel in your groin, arm, or neck. Tools may be passed through the catheter to take measurements or perform other procedures.
Contrast dye may be put into the artery and you may feel a warm or hot flush spreading over your body for a few seconds when the contrast dye is given.
X-rays will be taken as the contrast dye moves through your blood vessels. The X-rays will show if there is a blockage, narrowing, or deformity of the blood vessels in your heart.
At the end of the test, your healthcare provider will remove the catheter and put pressure on the area where the catheter was inserted (the puncture site) to control any bleeding.
The test usually takes about an hour.
During the test, if any narrowing is found, your healthcare provider can also do certain procedures to remove any blockages like an angioplasty and placing a coronary stent.
Don’t worry; we’ll cover what those terms mean.
What Is an Angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a procedure for stretching open a blocked artery. A metal device called a stent is usually left in the artery to help keep the blood vessel open. The stent may be coated with medicine to help keep the blood vessel open.
The blocked artery may be anywhere in the body. If the blocked artery is a blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart, the procedure is called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
It may also be called coronary angioplasty or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).
What Is a Coronary Stent?
A stent is a small support made of wire mesh that is inserted into the artery to hold it open. It’s usually placed after an angioplasty.
Why Would You Need a Cardiac Catheterization?
Heart catheterization helps your healthcare provider diagnose and treat heart problems. Heart catheterization may be used to:
Take fluoroscopy (a moving X-ray) pictures of your heart and the blood vessels that bring blood to your heart muscle. Your healthcare provider can then see if an artery is blocked and how much is blocked.
The test results can help your provider see if you need treatment to widen an artery, remove a blockage, or bypass an artery.
Your doctor will guide you through the reasons you may need a heart catheterization. But in general, you are a candidate for a cardiac cath if:
- You’ve experienced chest pain
- You have symptoms of heart disease
- You’ve experienced shortness of breath
- You have shoulder pain or pressure
- You have pain in your arms, jaw, neck or back
- You’ve had a heart attack
- You’ve had an abnormal electrocardiogram (that’s a machine we use to record your heart rhythm
Are You Put to Sleep During a Heart Cath?
No. You’re awake during a heart cath.
But don’t panic.
You’ll be sedated. So while you’ll be awake, you’ll be extremely relaxed and you’ll likely not be focused on the procedure at all.
Conway Medical Center Offers Complete Range of Heart Services Through Our Cardiac Care
We’re thrilled to have experienced, fellowship-trained providers who will work closely with you to deliver the highest level of quality cardiac care.
We’ve combined all of our best services into our heart center, which offers convenience along with a wide variety of procedures used to help diagnose heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Each year, millions are diagnosed with heart disease. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control states that one person dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease. That’s roughly 1 in every 4 deaths.
Providing the cardiac care you need, when you need it.
This means saving lives.
Are you wondering, ‘Do I need a cardiac catheterization procedure?’
If so, contact your doctor who will be glad to answer your questions and address any concerns you have.
Every heartbeat is precious here at Conway Medical Center. Contact us now to learn more about our Heart Center.