Cardiac Catheterization is also known as cardiac cath or heart cath.
Cardiac Catheterization is a small procedure, which checks the health and functioning capacity of the heart. It helps in the effective diagnoses and treatment of heart conditions. This procedure is performed to locate any blockage in the heart or narrowing of the blood vessels. At the same time the doctor also measures the pressure in the heart. A sample of the tissue may be taken and congenital heart defects may be checked. The sample tissue is then put under a microscope and checked for an abnormalities or problems. Samples of the blood are also taken in order to measure the oxygen content in the blood that is pumped out of the heart.
This procedure is also done along with other procedures in order to treat cardiac disease. It may accompany an angioplasty or a surgery which is done to close a hole in the heart or treat other types of congenital heart issues. Cardiac Catheterization may also be done with balloon vavuloplasty or heart arrhythmia treatment.
The procedure is also done to remove light blockage in the heart. If after the procedure any further cardiac issues are diagnosed relevant treatment options are suggested by the doctors.
Cardiac Catheterization is generally done under the influence of local anesthesia. If more than one procedure is being performed, general anesthesia may be given to the patient. During the procedure a long and narrow tube that is known as a catheter is inserted into the body via a introducer sheath. The sheath is a hollow tube which is introduced into one of the blood vessels in the arm or leg. With the help of a special X-ray machine, the catheter is then guided towards the coronary arteries of the heart. Once the catheter reaches the heart, a contrast ink is injected through the catheter, which creates contrasting images that are detected by the machine. This step helps the doctors check for a blockage in the heart. It is called coronary angiogram or coronary angiography.
Along with an angiography, the doctor may also perform IVUS and FFR procedures.
In order to prepare for the procedure the doctor generally advices the patient not to eat or take in any liquid for at least 6 hours before it is done. Blood thinning medication may also be prescribed to make it easier for the catheter and the ink to enter the body and reach the heart.
Cardiac Catheterization is suggested to patients who may have coronary syndrome or show signs of heart disease such as fatigue, pain in the heart etc. If patients have opted for prior stress testing, and show signs of cardiac problems they may be recommended to opt for this procedure.
There is no such criteria for non-eligibility of the procedure.
Some side effects of the procedure include- bruising, heart attack, bleeding, stroke, arrhythmia, damage to the kidneys, formation of blood clots, infection, allergic reaction as a result of the dye that is used, artery or blood vessel damage because of the introduction of the catheter etc.
Women who are pregnant or planning to have a baby should also inform their doctor before undergoing the procedure.
When it comes to post-procedure recovery, the hospital stay of the patient will generally depend on his condition. Once the procedure is done, it takes a few hours for recovery. The anesthesia will take a couple of hours to wear off and the catheter will be removed once the patient is shifted to his room. Depending on where the catheter was placed, specific instruction to take rest will be given.
The patient may be released either the same day or the next depending on the time he takes to recover.
The recovery depends whether the procedure was performed as a test or a treatment. It may take a few days to completely recover from the procedure. Until then, the patient should get plenty of rest and take his medication as instructed. Diet and liquid intake should also be maintained.
The price of the procedure in the country is about Rs16, 000 - Rs20, 000, which is about $254 U.S approximately.
If the procedure is done to remove light heart blockage, it is quite permanent if the patient takes care of his health and diet henceforth. The blockage may reappear if a healthy lifestyle in not maintained.