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TannerHeartCare

Cardiac Catheterization

If you have a blockage in your heart or arteries, it’s critical for doctors to find and treat it as soon as possible — before it causes a serious cardiac event.

At Tanner Heart Care, if we suspect you have a blockage in your coronary arteries, we may perform a procedure called cardiac catheterization. A cardiac catheterization procedure (also called a cardiac cath, heart cath or angiography) allows doctors to diagnose blockages before they cause serious heart problems.

How cardiac catheterization works

Our heart care doctors insert a small hollow tube, or catheter, into a large artery — usually in your upper leg, arm or wrist — until it reaches your heart. Using moving X-ray pictures, they can watch how dye released into the catheter moves through your heart, making blockages easy to spot.

A heart cath identifies problems such as:

  • How well the valves between your heart chambers open and close
  • Narrowing in your arteries
  • Problems with the size of your heart chambers and pressure within the chambers
  • Your heart’s ability to pump

What to expect after your cardiac catheterization

Heart caths take between 10 to 15 minutes. You will usually need to stay three to four hours after the procedure to rest and recover.

After the procedure, your care team will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and temperature and check for signs of bleeding at the insertion site. If the catheter is inserted through your leg, you may need to lie still with your leg extended for several hours. 

Your doctor will provide specific instructions for how to care for the insertion site after you are discharged. It is normal to feel tender there for about a week. 

Why Tanner?

If your doctor diagnoses you with a blocked artery, our interventional cardiologists can clear the blockage using angioplasty and stenting, and our cardiac rehabilitation program can help you get back to a healthier heart. Explore our heart care services.

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