Cardiac catheterization, also known as heart catheterization, is a standard procedure to diagnose and treat various cardiovascular concerns. It’s also an invasive imaging procedure that allows doctors to evaluate various cardiac functions. Cardiac catheterization can:
- Evaluate the function of the heart
- Confirm the presence of coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, or other conditions
- Take sample tissue for a biopsy
- Address heart defects
- Assess blood flow, pressure, or oxygen levels in different parts of the heart chamber
Cardiac catheterization may also be part of some cardiac procedures. We use cardiac catheterization in conjunction with:
- Angioplasty: Angioplasty may be performed with or without stenting. Angioplasty widens a narrowed artery by expanding a small balloon in the area where the blockage has occurred. In angioplasty with stenting, we place a small stent after widening the artery to reduce the risk of the artery reverting.
- Heart Valve Repair or Replacement: Doctors can use catheters to repair or replace a damaged heart valve.
- Balloon valvuloplasty: This procedure opens up narrowed, fused, or stiff heart valves. A balloon is attached to the end of the catheter and is inflated to open up a narrowed artery. Once the artery is expanded, the balloon is deflated, and the catheter is removed.
- Cardiac Ablation: A cardiac ablation treats various heart rhythm concerns. We apply heat or cold energy to the abnormal heart tissue depending on the arrhythmia type. Cardiac ablation redistributes electrical signals by destroying the tissue contributing to heart rhythm disturbances.
- Coronary angiogram: A procedure that checks for blocked arteries. We inject a dye through the catheter, allowing a doctor to see x-ray images of the heart arteries.
Cardiac Catheterization FAQs
Do you stay overnight for a heart catheterization? This depends on the severity of your unique situation. We perform this procedure in a hospital, and sometimes patients leave on the same day. If the patient’s treatment plan requires more procedures, the patient will need to stay longer.
Are you put to sleep for a heart catheterization? Not usually. We sedate you, so you don’t feel pain or discomfort but are still awake. Sedation will help relax you during the procedure. You will have little recollection after the sedative has worn off.
How long does it take to recover from a heart catheterization? You will be able to return to your normal life after about a week. Your doctor can give you a better timeline after a consultation.
What is the difference between an angiogram and a heart catheterization? We can perform an angioplasty during heart catheterization. It is an additional diagnostic test to take x-rays of your blood vessels. Doctors use heart catheterization for both diagnostic and treatment purposes.
How many days should you rest after a heart catheterization?
If you do not perform heavy lifting or physical labor for work, you should be able to go back to work in two to three days after your procedure. For the first week, refrain from bathing or swimming. Showering is permitted, but for the first 24 to 48 hours, it is important to make sure the catheter region does not get wet.
How painful is a heart catheterization?
When your doctor inserts the catheter, you may feel some pressure, and the insertion site might be uncomfortable for a few days following. Many patients also have minor bruises. To make the surgery as comfortable and painless as possible, sedation is employed, which generally makes the procedure pain-free. Most patients report that the pain they experience is far less than what they expected.
Visit Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute
Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute is a full-service heart and vascular practice in Dayton, OH. We offer a full range of diagnostic testing, imaging, and procedures for various heart and vascular concerns. If you would like to learn more about our services, you can visit one of our convenient locations. Give our office a call at 937-203-8602 or request an appointment online.