What is it?
Why have a cardiac catheter? A cardiac catheter is an X-ray examination of the coronary arteries, the heart pump and valves.
The investigation is carried out to find out whether you have any narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle), which may be the cause of your symptoms.
Occasionally patients have no symptoms of coronary artery disease. The doctor might suspect coronary artery disease if, for example, you have had a routine medical examination which demonstrates an abnormal ECG. The catheter investigation can also give information about the heart pump and the heart valves themselves.
What preparation do I need?
Dr Lipkin will normally request that you have a blood test before the investigation. You will almost certainly have had an ECG and I might request that you have a chest X-ray.
Do not drive to the hospital as it is sometimes difficult to park and I do not want you to drive home immediately after the procedure.
- If you are taking Warfarin (to thin the blood) We will ask you to stop the drug 3 or 4 days before the test
- If you have diabetes we will ask you not to take your insulin or diabetic tablets on the morning of the test. We will normally carry out your investigation early in the morning so that you can recommence your diabetic medication
- If there is any possibility you could be pregnant please inform Dr Lipkin
- You will be asked not to eat or drink for a minimum of 4-6 hours before the procedure. In practice this means that you will miss breakfast if you have a morning investigation and lunch if you have an afternoon investigation
On the day of the examination:
- Usually we will ask you to come into hospital on the day of the procedure. Dr Lipkin will explain again the purpose of the investigation and exactly what it involves and he will ask you to sign a consent form to confirm that you understand the procedure and you have agreed to go ahead with it. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions that concern you
- A nurse will usually ask you to shave your right groin
- You will be given a hospital gown to change into
- A nurse will take you to the Cardiac Catheter Department where you will have the procedure