Preparing for Your Cardiac Catheterization
If your doctor has ordered an elective cardiac catheterization, it means he or she suspects there may be reduced blood flow to your heart due to coronary artery disease. Our catheterization team at Lawrence General has performed thousands of procedures to look at those blood vessels and the blood flow to the heart. Our team has the skills to take good care of you and give your doctors the information they need to help you make the right choices about your care. We’ll be there to help you through every step.
Quality note: National best practice standards for cardiac catheterization recognize radial access catheterization (through the radial artery located in the wrist) to be the preferred approach, unless a patient’s circumstances require femoral access (through the femoral artery in the upper thigh). At Lawrence General Hospital 85% of our catheterizations are done using radial access.
Prior to the Procedure
Your physician will order preparatory tests such as blood tests, urinalysis, chest x-ray, and EKG to insure your comfort and safety during the procedure.
Day of the Procedure
Meals: Do not eat or drink on the morning of the procedure. If your procedure is scheduled for later in the day, check with your physician to see if you can eat a light breakfast.
Medications: It is important to review your medications with your cardiologist prior to the procedure. The doctor will tell you what medications you may or may not take on that day. Do not take medications such a Coumadin (blood thinner) and Lasix (diuretic) and some diabetes medications.
Please arrive 60 to 90 minutes prior to your procedure and check in at the Admitting Department located on the first floor of Lawrence General Hospital just beyond the main entrance lobby. From there you will proceed to the Cardiovascular Care Recovery Unit located on the fourth floor where our cardiac nursing staff will help you get ready for your procedure, including:
- Verifying your medical history and all medications
- Taking your blood pressure, pulse and temperature
- Prepping the site your cardiologist will use for the procedure (usually either your arm or your groin)
- Administering medication to help you relax
- Taking additional blood for lab tests, if needed
While you are in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, there is a comfortable area for your family to wait. You will be given medications during the exam to keep you relaxed, and though you will be awake, you will not feel any pain. If there is a blockage that can be fixed during your catheterization, the cardiologist will do that, providing diagnosis and treatment in one visit. After your cardiologist completes the procedure, he or she will review the results with you and your family (with your permission) and discuss next steps.
After the Procedure
The recovery time for this procedure varies, but is likely to be less than 24 hours. Lawrence General is the only community hospital in the Merrimack Valley that offers same day discharge for Catheterization patients who meet certain criteria. When you are ready to be discharged, you and your cardiologist will decide on a plan of care and/or follow-up based on your results.