What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

February 14, 2022 Heart Diseases 423 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure done to evaluate the function of the heart and diagnose the various cardiovascular conditions, that is, conditions that affect the blood vessels or heart.

Cardiac catheterization involves guiding a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, through a blood vessel to the heart for diagnosing or treating certain heart disorders, like irregular heartbeats or clogged arteries.

In this article, we will be discussing in detail cardiac catheterization.

  • What is the purpose of Cardiac Catheterization?
  • What is the diagnostic procedure before Cardiac Catheterization?
  • How to prepare for Cardiac Catheterization?
  • What is the procedure of Cardiac Catheterization?
  • How to care after Cardiac catheterization?
  • What are the risks of Cardiac Catheterization?
  • What is the cost of Cardiac Catheterization in India?

What is the purpose of Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization may be used in the diagnosis or treatment of the following conditions:

  • Coronary artery disease (buildup of plaque in the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart)
  • Heart failure (the heart fails in supplying adequate blood to the rest of the body)
  • Congenital heart disease (heart disease present at birth)
  • Heart valve disease (when one or more valve in the heart does not work properly) ( Know more about- What is Heart Valve Replacement Surgery? )
  • Microvascular heart disease (it is a heart disease affecting the walls and inner lining of the tiny coronary artery blood vessels which branch off from the larger coronary arteries supplying the heart)

Cardiac catheterization helps a doctor to:

  • Diagnosing heart valve disease
  • Examination of the blood vessels to check for blood clots
  • Diagnosing congenital heart problems
  • Biopsy (taking a sample of tissue from the heart)
  • Check how well the heart pumps blood 
  • Locating the blockages or narrowing in the blood vessels causing chest pain (by an angiogram)
  • Hemodynamic assessment (measuring the oxygen and pressure levels in the different parts of the heart)

What is the diagnostic procedure before Cardiac Catheterization?

  • Blood tests: A blood test may be done to see how long the blood takes to clot. It also helps in diagnosing medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disorders, and thyroid diseases.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This test helps in checking the electrical activity of the heart and the heart’s rhythm. It can help in diagnosing various heart problems.
  • Chest x-ray: It helps to look at the heart, lungs, major blood vessels, and other structures in the heart.
  • Echocardiogram (echo): It helps in looking at the structure of the heart, and how well the blood flows through the heart and is pumped out of the heart. ( Know more about- What is Echocardiography? )
  • Stress test: This test helps to check how well the heart works during physical stress, like walking on a treadmill or by giving medication.
  • Cardiac CT scan: This test helps in obtaining clear images of the narrowed blood vessels, larger blood vessels, heart problems, and heart valves. 
  • Cardiac MRI: This test helps in providing information about the function and structure of the heart, and the severity and type of heart disease.

How to prepare for Cardiac Catheterization?

  • If you are allergic to iodine, medications, latex, tape, contrast dye, or anesthetic agents, inform your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are currently on any medications, supplements, or herbs.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any medical diseases.
  • Do not eat or drink anything eight hours before the procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or you think that you can be.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any body piercings on the chest or stomach region.
  • The doctor may ask you to stop taking blood-thinners like aspirin and warfarin a few days before the procedure.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any kidney disorders.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any heart problems like heart valve disease or a pacemaker in the heart.
  • A sedative may be given before the procedure to relax you.

What is the procedure of Cardiac Catheterization?

  • An intravenous (IV) line is placed in a vein in your arm.
  • A medicine will be given through the IV to help the patient relax, or make the patient sleep the procedure.
  • The doctor will give local anesthesia (numbing medication) at the site of the catheter (a flexible tube) insertion.
  • This site is known as an access site and may be present in the arm, thigh, neck, or under the collarbone.
  • The doctor then places a needle into a blood vessel at the site of access.
  • A guidewire is then inserted into the needle, and the needle is removed.
  • A small tube known as a sheath is placed in the blood vessel around the guidewire.
  • The guidewire is now removed.
  • The catheter is later inserted through the sheath. 
  • The doctor will check the x-ray images intermittently to check where to place the tip of the catheter.
  • After the catheter is in its place, the doctor may use it to perform various diagnostic tests or treatments on the heart. 
  • For example, a dye may be injected into the catheter to check the blood flow in the heart. The dye will enter the blood vessels and make the coronary arteries visible in the x-ray images. ( Know more about- What is Coronary Angioplasty?)

How to care after Cardiac Catheterization?

  • After the catheter is removed, pressure is applied to the insertion sites.
  • If the catheter is placed in the groin area, the patient needs to lie flat for many hours after the procedure to allow healing of the artery and avoid serious bleeding.
  • It is normal to feel soreness for a few days after the procedure.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any pain, bleeding, or swelling at or near the site of access.

What are the risks of Cardiac Catheterization?

The complications of cardiac catheterization include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Blood clot formation
  • Heart attack ( Know more about- What is Heart Attack? )
  • Damage to the heart, artery, or the area of catheter insertion
  • Infection
  • Kidney damage
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) ( Know more about- What are the Arrhythmias of the heart? )
  • Stroke 
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic agents, medications, or contrast dye

What is the cost of Cardiac Catheterization in India?

The total cost of cardiac catheterization in India can range from around INR 16,000 to INR 20,000, depending on the type of procedure done. However, many prominent hospital doctors in India specialize in cardiac catheterization. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of cardiac catheterization, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel. After the procedure, the patient is kept for one day in the hospital and seven days in the hotel for recovery. So, the total cost of cardiac catheterization in India comes from a total of INR 21,000 to INR 26,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding cardiac catheterization through this article.

If you need more information about cardiac catheterization, you can contact a Cardiologist.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medication or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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