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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Cardiac Catheterization

The Procedure

  • For most patients, the main artery of the right groin is used to introduce the catheters
  • Right and left groins are both carefully prepared to prevent infection and to allow access to the left sided vessels if necessary
  • stinging and burning will occur as the groin site is thoroughly frozen with local anaesthetic and then you will only feel a sensation of pressure in the groin as the needle enters the artery
  • large intravenous tube is then placed in the artery to allow the doctor to easily exchange catheters during the procedure. Once the catheter is in place, you will feel little sensation from the manipulation of the catheters as there are no nerve endings inside you arteries
  • X-ray equipment allows the doctor to track the course of the catheters
  • The doctor can view or review the image on the screens and images can also be saved for later viewing
  • may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it and/or put arms above head during the pictures
  • The doctor inserts the appropriate catheters into the coronary arteries under X-ray and fills them with dye, which outlines the path of the arteries
  • The doctor can then see any irregularities, narrowings or closures of these arteries.
  • A catheter is then placed directly into the left ventricle or the main pumping chamber of the heart and then X-ray dye is then injected rapidly giving important information about its function and strength
  • will feel a sensation of heat, starting in head and moving downward for about 10 to 30 seconds
  • large volume of x-ray dye used may cause the sensation of loss of bladder control