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What Happens During the Catheterization

When you arrive in the Cath Lab, you will be moved to a table which is narrow and flat. We will do our best to make you comfortable. Please let us know if you have difficulty lying flat or if you have back, knee, hip or other physical difficulties.

  • Electrodes will be applied to your chest to monitor your heart rate and rhythm. You will also wear a blood pressure cuff.
  • The area where we will place the catheter (access site) will be shaved and prepped with antiseptic. The most common site is the groin but the wrist or arm can also be used. Your cardiologist will determine the best site for your procedure.
  • General anesthesia will not be used. We will give you a sedative in your I.V. to help you relax. Our goal is to make you comfortable, but able to respond. During the procedure, you may be asked to cough, turn your head or take a deep breath.
  • When the cardiologist arrives, we will inject a local anesthetic into the skin to numb the place the catheter will be inserted. This may result in temporary, mild discomfort.
  • A sheath or short hollow tube will be placed in the artery. This is similar to starting an I.V. in your hand or arm. You may feel pressure but very little dis-comfort. The sheath will enable catheters to pass in and out of the artery.
  • X-ray imaging will be used to guide catheters to your heart. Contrast dye will be injected and the flow of the contrast dye will be recorded. You   will not feel the catheter advancing to your heart, however you may feel a warm or tingling sensation in your face and downwards into your groin and legs when the contrast dye is injected.
  • After all images are obtained, the catheter will be removed.

If Blockages are Found


There are a variety of ways to treat chest pain and heart disease caused by a narrowing of the arteries. Your cardiologist may recommend medication, angioplasty or bypass surgery. Remember that diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is different for everyone. Not all people are candidates for angio-plasty and stenting and/or bypass surgery. Your cardi-ologist will discuss with you the various treatment options available and which option may be  best suited for you given the results of your study.



 Related Information
 Preparing for the Catheterization
 What Happens During the Catheterization
 What Happens After the Catheterization
 Going Home - Discharge Instructions
 When to Call the Doctor
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