Cardiac Catheterisation – For The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Cardiovascular Disease


 What is Cardiac Catheterisation?

Cardiac Catheterisation is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases. In this procedure, a catheter (a thin hollow tube) is inserted into the large arteries or veins present in the neck, arm or groin, and is guided to the heart through the arteries or veins using a special kind of X-ray. Once the catheter is in place, the Physician can carry out diagnostic tests or treatment procedures.

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What is the purpose of Cardiac Catheterisation?

  • To detect blockages in the coronary arteries (Coronary Angiography) or valve dysfunction.
  • To perform procedures such as Angioplasty, Ablation Therapy or Valve Repair.
  • To obtain a small piece of heart tissue to examine under a microscope for detecting conditions affecting the heart muscle (Cardiac Biopsy).
  • To determine the pressure levels in the chambers of the heart
  • To determine the heart function after a cardiac intervention

 What are the precautions to be followed before Cardiac Catheterisation?

  • Inform your doctor about all the medications that you are taking, and if you have any ailments.
  • Inform the doctor if you are allergic to any dyes or specific medications
  • You will have to fast for at least 6 hours before the procedure, as food and liquid increase the possibility of complications with General Anaesthesia.
  • The Physician may ask you to discontinue blood-thinners or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • You will be asked to empty your bladder immediately before the procedure.
  • Your general health status and vital signs will be monitored.
  • Dentures and jewellery must be removed before the procedure, as they may interfere with the imaging procedures.


 What happens during Cardiac Catheterisation?

  • This procedure lasts for about 30 minutes. It may be longer if you are undergoing any other test or intervention using this procedure.
  • Cardiac Catheterisation is usually done by administering Local Anaesthesia (LA). However, General Anaesthesia (GA) may be given when surgical procedures such as Valve Repair or Ablation are to be performed.
  • Your vital signs and Electrocardiogram will be continuously assessed during the procedure.
  • An IV cannula is inserted in your arm to administer medications during the procedure if
  • You will be given a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure.
  • The site of catheter insertion (usually the groin) is cleaned and shaved, and the LA is administered. When the site for incision becomes numb, an incision is made, and the catheter is inserted using a catheter sheath.
  • Once the catheter is guided to the heart, a dye is administered which outlines the vessels, valves and chambers of the heart.
  • The Physician will then perform the diagnostic tests or surgical procedures for treating the condition.

What happens immediately after Cardiac Catheterisation?

  • Your surgeon will remove the catheter and close the incision using stitches. A sterile dressing will be used to prevent infection in the incision site.
  • You will be required to lie flat on the bed for 2-6 hours after the procedure.
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure will be continuously monitored.
  • You will be administered pain medications once the anesthesia wears off.
  • You will be asked to drink plenty of water to eliminate the dye that was administered.
  • You may be asked to stay in the hospital for a few hours or a day.

What happens after discharge from hospital?

  • Follow all the instructions given by your doctor.
  • You will most likely resume your normal activities in a day’s time.
  • Some soreness at the incision site is normal, and may reduce within a week.

What are the risks of Cardiac Catheterisation?

Cardiac Catheterisation is a relatively safe procedure. However, like any other invasive procedure, some uncommon risks of this procedure are:

  • Infection
  • Blood clotting
  • Bruising at the incision site
  • Allergic reaction to dye
  • Arrythmia
  • Air embolism
  • Stroke

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • Severe pain at the incision site
  • Signs of infection: redness, warmth, pus oozing or excessive swelling around the incision site
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in your limbs