Type of Surgery


Doctor Certified

Last updated: 11/24/2009


While cardiac catheterization may be performed on an outpatient basis, the patient requires close monitoring following the procedure; the patient may have to remain in the hospital for up to 24 hours. The patient will be instructed to rest in bed for...

at least eight hours immediately after the test. If the catheter was inserted into a vein or artery in the leg or groin area, the leg will be kept extended for four to six hours. If a vein or artery in the arm was used to insert the catheter, the arm will need to remain extended for a minimum of three hours.

Most doctors advise patients to avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for several days after cardiac catheterization. Those whose occupation involves a high level of physical activity should ask the doctor when they could safely return to work. In most cases, a hard ridge will form over the incision site that diminishes as the site heals. A bluish discoloration under the skin often occurs at the point of insertion but usually fades within two weeks. The incision site may bleed during the first 24 hours following surgery. The patient may apply pressure to the site with a clean tissue or cloth for 10–15 minutes to stop the bleeding.

The patient should be instructed to call the doctor at once if tenderness, fever, shaking, or chills develop, which may indicate an infection. Other symptoms requiring medical attention include severe pain or discoloration in the leg, which may indicate that a blood vessel was damaged.

7. Risks


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During cardiac catherization, a catheter is fed into the femoral artery of the upper leg (A). The catheter is fed up to coronary arteries to an area of blockage (B). A dye is released, allowing visualization of the blockage (C). (Illustration by GGS Inc.) During cardiac catherization, a catheter is fed into the femoral artery of the upper leg (A). The catheter is fed up to coronary arteries to an area of blockage (B). A dye is released, allowing visualization of the blockage (C). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)


Other Information

Cardiac catheterization (heart cath) is the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart. This is done for both investigational and interventional purposes. Coronary catheterization is a subset of this technique, involving the catheterization of the coronary arteries.

A small puncture is made in a vessel in the groin, the inner bend of the elbow, or neck area (the femoral vessels or the carotid/jugular vessels), then a guidewire is inserted into the incision and threaded through the vessel into the area of the heart that requires treatment, visualized by fluoroscopy or echocardiogram, and a catheter is then threaded over the guidewire. If X-ray fluoroscopy is used, a radiocontrast agent will be administered to the patient during the procedure. When the necessary procedures are complete, the catheter is removed. Firm pressure is applied to the site to prevent bleeding. This may be done by hand or with a mechanical device. Other closure techniques include an internal suture. If the femoral artery was used, the patient will probably be asked to lie flat for several hours to prevent bleeding or the development of a hematoma. Cardiac interventions such as the insertion of a stent prolong both the procedure itself as well as the post-catheterization time spent in allowing the wound to clot.

A cardiac catheterization is a general term for a group of procedures that are performed using this method, such as coronary angiography, as well as left ventrical angiography. Once the catheter is in place, it can be used to perform a number of procedures including angioplasty, angiography, and balloon septostomy.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_catheterization

Other Information

They've become more prevalent since the heart surgery.

-Skip Rutherford

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