Cardiac catheterization is a non-surgical procedure often recommended for patients who suffer from chest pain, show signs of blocked arteries or have atypical stress test results. It enables doctors to more precisely pinpoint potential heart problems such as coronary artery, aortic or valve disease and provides critical answers needed to determine the best course of action and establish a treatment plan.
At Mountainside Medical Center, patients who require this procedure are treated in specially equipped rooms in our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory by a team that’s dedicated to ensuring the comfort of their patients, as well as unsurpassed quality and safety - before, during and after each procedure. The hospital's cardiac cath lab is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency needs.
The catheterization process involves inserting a thin catheter into an artery and carefully guiding it through the artery until it reaches the heart with the assistance of advanced imaging equipment. Dye is then injected through the catheter and flows to the heart, enabling the cardiologist to clearly see how the heart and arteries are functioning and determine a course of treatment.
Leaders in their field, on your team
Our team includes specially trained invasive cardiologists, nurses and cardiovascular technologists. The entire team has years of clinical experience devoted to the care of the cardiovascular patient with required continual advanced education in their field. The lab is an active participant in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry which helps keep our standards of care within or above the guidelines set forth by the American College of Cardiology.
A continuum of care
We have a holistic, team approach to cardiac care at Mountainside Medical Center. Whatever next steps your cardiologist recommends following a catheterization or other heart-related event, we’re here for you to provide everything from skilled medical care to nutritional counseling and cardiac rehabilitation at our state-of-the-art fitness center.
The highest level of treatment and expertise
Mountainside Medical Center’s nine-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) is committed to delivering the finest quality critical care to its patients and compassionately supporting their families. The CICU is under the supervision of a cardiologist and every patient receives bedside assistance from highly trained critical care nurses. In CICU, our goal is getting our patients back on their feet as soon as possible.
How to Prepare for Your Cardiac Catheterization
Your doctor's office will schedule your procedure in advance and inform you of the date and time. They will also arrange for your pre-admission testing which consists of blood work and an EKG.
Do not to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your procedure.
Speak to your physician whether or not to take your medications on the day of your procedure. If you routinely take blood thinners, you will be instructed to discontinue them a few days before to decrease the risks of bleeding. If you are diabetic, your insulin and diet should be discussed with your physician in order to control your blood sugar during the procedure.
You must have a designated driver to transport you home after your procedure since you may receive sedation. We advise that you pack an overnight bag in case your doctor admits you overnight for observation.
What to expect during your catheterization:
You may be given sedation to make you drowsy during the procedure, but you will be awake.
You may experience a warm, tingly sensation as the dye goes through the arteries. If the dye is injected into the pumping chamber of the heart, you may experience a "hot sensation” all over your body that will quickly pass. This is normal.
You may be asked to take deep breaths, cough or hold your breath for a few seconds during the catheterization for diagnostic purposes.
After your catheterization:
You will be told the results immediately following your procedure and detailed written reports will be sent to your referring physician(s).
You will be required to lie flat for two to six hours post procedure as instructed by your physician. Your head may be slightly elevated at a 30-degree angle. You will be asked not to move your leg to prevent bleeding.
Some patients will have a closure device placed in the insertion site by their cardiologist. If a closure device is not used, the sheath will need to be removed. Direct pressure will be applied to the insertion site for approximately 20 minutes to prevent bleeding. Your vital signs will be monitored continuously during this time. Once again, you will be asked to lay flat for a time period instructed by your doctor and not move your leg if the insertion site was in your groin.
You must drink plenty of fluids after the procedure to help flush the dye out of your system.
Inform your nurse if you experience symptoms of weakness, shortness of breath, bleeding, dizziness, chest pain that radiates to your neck, jaw, arms or upper back or you have sudden discomfort at the insertion site.
Please watch the video below to learn what to expect from your cardiac catherization.