What Is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure designed to determine your heart’s health condition. This procedure is also important to detect whether there are problems with the heart and treat some heart problems.

This procedure is mostly done to evaluate the health condition of people who often experience chest pain. Chest pain may be a symptom of coronary heart disease . In addition to chest pain, there are various reasons why doctors perform cardiac catheterization .

Indications for Cardiac Catheterization

Here are some of the uses of cardiac catheterization:

  • Evaluate blood flow and oxygen in various parts of your heart.
  • Assess the strength of the heart muscle pumping blood throughout the body.
  • See how good heart valve performance is.
  • Treating coronary heart disease and heart attack.
  • Plan the right treatment. Especially if you are just recovering from a heart attack but still feel chest pain, get the results of a medical examination that shows that you have heart disease, or you have a heart attack that causes the heart to be severely damaged.
  • Correct heart defects with minor surgery.
  • Take heart muscle samples to find out if you have a heart infection or tumor.
  • Check for congenital heart disease in children.

This is the Cardiac Catheterization Procedure

Cardiac catheterization procedure is performed by a cardiologist in the hospital. During a cardiac catheterization, you will remain aware and be able to follow all directions from the doctor. When going to undergo a cardiac catheterization procedure, the medical team will inject sedative drugs that will make you feel calm.

Then, the cleaning and shaving process is carried out on the area to be inserted in the catheter, which is a device such as a flexible thin hose. After cleaning, the doctor will inject local anesthetic so you don’t feel sick when the catheterization is done.

The catheterization process begins by making a small hole in the vein, followed by the installation of a tube in the hole, to keep the mouth open. Then, the doctor will insert a guiding wire from the vascular opening to the heart chamber. After that, the catheter is inserted following the guiding wire from the vein to the heart. The guide wire will be pulled and re-removed, while the catheter stays inside.

Then, the doctor will insert a contrast dye into the catheter. The monitor will record the condition of your heart, which can be seen from the journey of contrast dye in the blood vessels. The results of this recording will appear on the monitor screen of the operating room making it easier for doctors to see the state of your heart. Finally, the doctor can start testing, treatment, or any medical measures needed according to your condition.

During a cardiac catheterization, the doctor can also perform a coronary angiogram or cardiac angiography . This procedure is done to find out if you have a coronary artery disorder or not.

After the cardiac catheterization process is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room for several hours. While in this room, you are required to sleep on your back with the condition of a straight leg and should not leave the bed. The medical team will then close the catheterization hole area to stop bleeding. Heart rate, pulse and blood pressure will also be checked.

Possible Risks

Every medical procedure, especially related to the heart and blood vessels, certainly has risks. Likewise with cardiac catheterization. Here are some risks that might occur:

  • Bleeding.
  • Bruises.
  • Infection.
  • Blood clots .
  • Allergic reactions to drugs or contrast agents.
  • Damage to arteries and heart tissue.
  • Heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) .
  • Kidney damage.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke
  • Emboli or the entry of air into the blood vessels.

If you are referred to a cardiac catheterization by a doctor, prepare yourself as well as possible. Usually, you will be asked to fast at least six hours before the procedure. If you are taking medication, consult this doctor. Inform your doctor if you have an allergy to drugs or any substance, to prevent things that are not desirable, both during and after cardiac catheterization.

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