Should your coronary arteries be blocked, your doctor will perform a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) with the use of a catheter. This is a thin flexible tube that serves as a guide wire with a balloon attached that will open and improve blood flow to your heart. Common types of PCI include Angioplasty and Stenting.
A small balloon is attached to a catheter that will be guided to the proper location within your artery and inflated. Pressure from the inflated balloon will push plaque against the walls of your artery and improve the flow of blood.
This is often performed with angioplasty. After plaque has been compressed by the angioplasty a stent, which is a small expandable wire tube, is inserted into the artery to serve as a support to keep the artery open. This is the most common procedure performed. It has been found to have success keeping the artery open.
Another test that may be performed during the cardiac catheterization is a ventriculogram which is a x-ray that measures how well blood flows through the left side of your heart, which involves observing the movements of the wall of the left ventricle of your heart and heart valves.
The purpose of cardiac catheterization is to determine if your coronary arteries are diseased and in what location along with the size of the blockage. This information will help your doctor to determine whether bypass surgery or an angioplasty is necessary. It also checks the blood pressure and blood flow through the chambers of the heart, the pumping strength of the heart, whether there are congenital defects, heart valve functions and well as blood flow after bypass has been performed.
Inform your doctor if:
- You have an allergy of iodine dye
- You have asthma or history of allergic anaphylaxis reaction to any substances such as a bee sting
- Are on medication for allergies
- You currently take medication for erectile dysfunction
- You currently take blood-thinning medications or have bleeding issues
- There is a possibility that you may be pregnant
- You have poor kidney function or kidney disease
- You have diabetes
This test takes approximately 1-2 hours in the hospital setting. You will need to arrange for transportation home after the procedure. You may not eat or drink for 4-6 hours prior to the test. Your doctor will inform you if you need to discontinue any of your medications the day of the test. You will also need to remove all jewelry and nail polish.
The doctor will talk to you about how the procedure went after completion. You will also need to be scheduled for a follow-up visit at one of our outpatient clinics within two weeks.