Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath, heart cath, or coronary angiography) is a procedure to examine how well blood is flowing to your heart. A catheter, similar to an IV, is inserted into your wrist or groin and follows the path that leads to your heart. When the catheter reaches your heart contrast dye is injected through the catheter to look for narrowing or blockage in the vessel. If a narrowing or blockage is found it is often treated with a balloon and/or stent during the same procedure. Ballooning (Angioplasty) uses a tiny balloon to open blocked arteries. Stenting is the insertion of a tiny wire mesh tube into an artery to hold it open.

Preparing For Your Procedure

  • You may have clear liquids (any fluid which is transparent, such as water, apple/cranberry/grape juice, black coffee or tea) until you leave for the hospital.
    • NO dairy products, including cream, or non-transparent fluids, such as orange/tomato juice.
    • NO solids after midnight.
  • Please shower with soap and water prior to your procedure.
    • Do not use creams, lotions or oils.
    • Deodorant is acceptable.
  • If you wear glasses or a hearing aid, please wear them that day.
    • Contacts will need to be removed prior to your procedure.
  • It is best to leave valuables such as money, watches, and jewelry home.
  • Arrive on time and bring your insurance card (please contact your insurance provider for coverage details).
  • Please make arrangements for an individual 18 years or older to be with you during your stay and drive you home.
    • Depending on your procedure you may be discharged the same day or stay overnight to be discharged the following day.

Can I Take My Medications?

  • Please bring home medications in original bottles the morning of your procedure, including insulin.
    • Do NOT take the day of the procedure: Lasix (furosemide), Bumex (bumetanide), torsemide, Lovenox, Motrin, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), Insulin, metformin or medications that include metformin.
    • Do NOT take 2 days prior to the procedure: Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis and Savaysa
    • Do NOT take 4 days prior to the procedure: Coumadin, Warfarin, Jantoven
    • Continue to take: Brilinta, Plavix, Effient and Aspirin.

What Can I Expect?

  • Usually you will be awake during the procedure but given medications to help you relax and manage any pain or discomfort you may have.
  • If treatment is required you may be admitted to the hospital, please plan accordingly with an overnight bag.
  • If you have intervention done you will be sent home on an antiplatelet medication plus aspirin. It is important that these medications are taken without stopping for at least 1 year after your procedure, or until your cardiologist tells you otherwise.

What Will My Recovery Be Like?

  • Your activity may be restricted after your procedure. The restrictions vary depending on the procedure site:
    • For wrist approach: no strenuous activity for two days, no lifting over five pounds for five days with the affected arm, no driving the day of discharge.
    • For groin approach: no strenuous activity for five days, no lifting over 10 pounds for five days, no driving for two days.
    • If you will need a return to work slip please ask for this prior to discharge

If you have questions or concerns about preparing for this test, call your Cardiologist's office.

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