This is a procedure in which a small flexible tube is guided through a large blood vessel that leads to the heart.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that involves guiding a small flexible tube, called a catheter, into a large blood vessel that leads to the heart. The catheter is gently threaded toward the heart using x-ray guidance. This is done to examine and evaluate the function of different parts of the heart, such as the valves and the muscles that make up the main structure of the heart.
A cardiac catheterization may be recommended if you have heart failure (when the heart does not pump as efficiently as it should), episodes of chest pain or an abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) with certain risk factors. It may also be recommended if your healthcare provider suspects that you have other heart symptoms. It can also be done to evaluate a heart problem you were born with (also known as a congenital defect). The procedure is done by a cardiologist in a hospital or outpatient facility.
Prior to the procedure, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements), if you have a seafood allergy or you have had problems with any type of dye in the past. Ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These may include:
It is important to understand procedures your healthcare provider recommends. You should ask questions, such as those outlined below, before having a cardiac catheterization. This is because many conditions that previously required a cardiac catheterization can now be managed with less invasive tests and procedures.
After your catheterization, your healthcare provider should provide a description of any problems found during the procedure and what symptoms you should report. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Do not forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility and help at home.
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