What is Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose some cardiovascular conditions and helps to determine treatments to improve these conditions. Typically, a long thin tube is inserted in a vein or artery from your neck or arm to your heart.
Using this tube called a catheter, doctors can do diagnostic tests and perform heart disease treatments, such as coronary stenting and coronary angioplasty.
Why it is this test perform?
Generally, a Cardiac catheterization test is done to detect a heart condition. It can also be done as a procedure to treat some heart conditions.
What can be detected of having a cardiac catheterization test:
- Check the pumping function of your heart
- Diagnose congenital heart conditions
- Detect problems in the heart valves
- Locate narrowing or blockages in blood vessels
- Measure pressure and oxygen levels in different parts of the heart
- Take a sample of tissue from the heart
What can be detected from a Cardiac catheterization as a procedure to treat heart diseases
- Closing holes to prevent blood clots
- Opening narrow heart valves
- Perform an angioplasty with or without stent placement
- Repairing or replacing heart valves
- Treating irregular heart rhythms with ablation
What are the Risks of a cardiac catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization has some risks as most heart and blood vessels procedures. Rarely, severe complications happen.
Risks of cardiac catheterization are:
- Allergic reactions to the dye or medication
- Blood clots
- Damage to the artery, heart, or the area where the catheter was inserted
- Heart attack
- Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Kidney damage
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, let your doctor know before having the procedure.
Before your test:
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before your test or as directed by your doctor.
- If diabetes is a pre-existing condition, ask for instructions about diabetes medications and insulin.
- The doctor may recommend stopping blood thinner medications that may thin the blood.
- Take all medications and supplements to the test, so the doctor will know the exact dose to take.
These are some of the common uses for cardiac catheterization:
- Coronary angiogram: a dye will be injected through the catheter to get X-ray images of the heart arteries.
- Right heart catheterization: the catheter has special sensors to measure the pressure and blood flow in the heart.
- Heart biopsy: a catheter with a small, jaw-like tip will take a small sample of tissue from the heart.
- Balloon angioplasty, with or without stenting: a small balloon catheter will be inserted through the flexible catheter and inflated at the narrowed area to open it up.
- Balloon valvuloplasty: this procedure is done to open up narrowed heart valves.
- Heart ablation: multiple catheters are placed so that radiofrequency energy can be directed to the part of your heart, causing abnormal heartbeats.
- Repair of heart defects: for closing a hole in the heart, a device is inserted into your heart to close the hole. In cases of heart leak repair, a clip is used to stop the leak.
- Valve replacement: an artificial valve will be implanted in your heart to replace a narrowed heart valve.