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Cardiac Catheterization

What is cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a surgical procedure which is done with a thin and flexible catheter guiding through a blood vessel to the heart for diagnosing and treating heart conditions like irregular heartbeats and blocked arteries. This procedure provides the appropriate information about the heart muscle, heart blood vessels, and heart valves to the doctors. The healthcare professional can initiate different heart tests during the procedure, and can offer treatment, or initiate heart tissue removal for evaluation. With cardiac catheterization, the doctors can offer treatments for heart diseases such as coronary stenting and coronary angioplasty.

Why is there a need for cardiac catheterization?

There are different reasons leading to cardiac catheterization indications which includes:

  • Diagnosing a suspected heart condition
  • Planning the treatment after a heart attack
  • Determining the causes of chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and breath shortness
  • Assessing the heart condition before heart transplant or heart surgery
  • Confirming the congenital heart disease diagnosis
  • Identify blocked blood vessels
  • Find problems linked to heart valves
  • The doctor can take a heart tissue sample
  • Measuring blood flow and blood pressure in the heart becomes easier
  • Evaluate the arteries going from heart to the lungs and looking for conditions such as pulmonary embolism or pulmonary hypertension

What happens during the cardiac catheterization procedure?

Before starting the cardiac catheterization procedure, the doctor is assisted by a team of healthcare professionals which include nurses, technicians, other doctors, and medical professionals. The nurse will ensure placing an IV before the procedure in the patient’s hand or arm. It will give required medication and fluid during, before, and after the procedure to the patient. After the sedative containing medication is given to the patient.

To access the site, the nurse will numb the area with a local anaesthesia to insert the catheter. Once it is done, small discs known as electrodes are placed on the upper body and connected to the electrocardiogram machine. It allows the healthcare team to assess the activity of a heart during the procedure. Then, the doctor initiates inserting the sheath also known as a plastic tube into the access site. Small incision is made for the appropriate placement of a sheath. There might be the use of ultrasound imaging for supplementary assistance. The doctor might ask the patient to hold the breath, take a deep breath, cough, and move the head.

After all the placements are done correctly, the doctor will begin with the procedures required for diagnosing and treating the condition. Finally, once the procedure is done, the doctor will ask the team to remove the sheath and catheter. The site is closed with the use of a dressing or a bandage.

Procedures that use cardiac catheterization

The doctor might involve several procedures to assess the patient’s heart function and diagnose the condition. Here are some of the procedures:

  • Coronary angiogram- To understand how the injected dye flows through the heart and blood vessels
  • Heart biopsy- To take a heart tissue sample for further testing
  • Other tests- Taking blood samples from inside the heart, measuring blood pressure and blood oxygen in blood vessels and different parts of the heart and examining the blood vessels
  • Coronary angioplasty- This procedure is done to expand or widen the blocked artery. It is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Stent placement- A doctor might involve using cardiac catheterization stent for placing inside a blocked artery. It is helpful in improving blood flow.

Recovery after cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is usually a quick procedure and doesn’t last for more than an hour. However, recovery after cardiac catheterization requires time. After the procedure is completed, the patient needs to rest to recover so that the sedative also wears off. If required, the doctor might put pressure on the access site to stop bleeding. A doctor or nurse will ensure checking and monitoring the access site to evaluate heart rate and blood pressure. The doctor might ask the patient lying flat for a few hours if the incision site was in the groyne.

An overnight stay might be needed if the patient had gone through an additional procedure like ablation or angioplasty during catheterization. The patient is given proper instructions to be followed after discharge. It is recommended to consult the doctor immediately if any unusual changes are observed after the procedure.

Why should you choose BM Birla Heart Research Centre for a cardiac catheterization procedure?

BM Birla Heart Research Centre, Kolkata is a super speciality hospital delivering cardiac healthcare services. Our hospital integrates a team of multidisciplinary professionals and the finest heart surgeons in India with global reputation to confirm a high success rate.

Our hospital is integrated with the latest infrastructure and advanced technology for comprehensive diagnosis and personalised care. Get in touch with in case your doctor has recommended cardiac catheterization procedure to diagnose and treat the condition efficiently.


Is cardiac catheterization safe?

Yes, cardiac catheterization is the safest procedure when done by a skilled and a professional healthcare team.

Is cardiac catheterization the same as angiogram?

Yes, coronary angiograms are known to be a segment of a general group of procedures called cardiac catheterizations.


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