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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > Cardiac Catheterization: Preparation & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Heart Diseases

Cardiac Catheterization

Alternate Names : Coronary Angiography, Heart Catheterization, Coronary Angiogram, Cardiac Angiography

Cardiac Catheterization | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

What is involved in preparation for the test?

Special preparation is needed before the test. A brief physical exam is done to evaluate pulses in your groin and legs. If you have a weak pulse in your groin, your doctor may use a different artery to insert the catheter. Your doctor will also review your medical and surgical history. He or she may ask questions such as the following.

  • Do you have a bleeding tendency or any blood disorders?
  • Do you have any kidney disease or other kidney problems?
  • Have you had a prior allergic reaction to contrast agent or dye?
  • Do you take blood thinning medicines such as aspirin or warfarin?
  • Before the test, your blood is checked for kidney function and for signs of a bleeding tendency. A woman of childbearing age will be screened for pregnancy. This is usually done with a urine or blood pregnancy test. Radiation from the test could harm an unborn child.

    You cannot eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the test. Dentures, eyeglasses, and jewelry, such as necklace or earrings, should be removed before the exam.

    The risks, benefits, and complications of the test are usually explained to you on the day of the procedure. Some possible complications you may have from the test are as follows:

  • allergic reactions to the contrast agent used
  • bleeding in the groin
  • heart attack, which occurs in less than 1% of cases
  • irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias
  • stroke, which occurs in less than 1% of cases
  • If procedures are done during the exam, such as angioplasty, additional risks are involved. These will be discussed before the test by your doctor.

    This test may be done on an outpatient basis. This means that you can go home after the test. However, sometimes you might have to stay in the hospital for a day or more after the test. Often, this test is used for people in the hospital who have serious or life-threatening heart conditions.

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    Cardiac Catheterization: Overview & Description


    Cardiac Catheterization: Results and Values

    Author: Lanita Dawson, MD
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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