Cardiac Catheterization

A cardiac catheterization (angiography) allows your doctor to view the inside of your coronary arteries to look for blockages. You are awake during the procedure but you will be given medicine to help you relax and lie still during the procedure. During the heart catheterization procedure, you will receive local anesthesia in your groin, and a small tube will be placed and advanced to your heart. An x-ray contrast is injected and pictures are taken. Depending on the pictures produced during your cardiac catheterization, you may need further treatment such as an angioplasty, stents or bypass surgery. Sometimes the arteries will have very little or no blockage and you will be allowed to go home after a short recovery period.  

How do I prepare for a cardiac catheterization?
Your physician will explain the heart catheterization procedure to you during an office visit. Typically, patients are instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before their procedure. If the test is scheduled for later in the day, you may be allowed to have a light breakfast. Sometimes patients with very high blood pressure and/or diabetes are given special instructions in regards to their medication. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you at the time the catherization is scheduled. You should bring all of your medication with you to the hospital.