Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

  Coronary angiogram: This procedure/test is conducted to study the blood vessels (heart arteries) that bring blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. It is done by injecting X-ray visible dye (contrast) through a long, flexible, hollow tube (a catheter) positioned at the opening of the coronary arteries, to produce X-ray pictures of the inside of the arteries as shown on the right.

Angioplasty and stenting: This is a treatment procedure that unblocks narrowed blood vessels using balloons and stents.

Before the procedure

  1. On arrival, you will be greeted by our receptionist and admitted to the Day Surgery Unit. 
  2. The staff nurse will send you to your respective room and initiate the pre-procedure assessment. 
  3. Your nurse will then place a tube into a vein in your arm if medication is needed. 
  4. Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and ask you to sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure. 
  5. You will be called for the procedure at the scheduled time.

During the procedure 

  1. Once in the Cath Lab, you will lie on an X-ray table, be connected to a monitor and be covered in sterile material. 
  2. You will be awake throughout the procedure but sedation will be provided if required. 
  3. The doctor will inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin, before placing a tube in the artery in your wrist or groin. 
  4. The X-ray camera will move around and you may be asked to take a deep breath, but otherwise, you should lie as still as possible.
  5. You may feel a hot flushing sensation when the contrast is injected or a slight tightness in your chest as the contrast displaces the blood and oxygen for a few seconds. 
  6. At the end of the test, the sheath is removed. If it was in your wrist, a tight band is placed around your wrist to seal the puncture for 2-3 hours. If it was in your leg, the doctor will seal it with a small plug or by pressing with their fingers. 
  7. You will have to lie flat or rest on your bed for 1-3 hours afterward.

After the procedure 

  1. Once back in the unit, you will be monitored by your nurse. 
  2. The recovery routine varies slightly depending on whether the procedure was done through your wrist or groin, or whether you’ve had a stent. 
  3. You will be offered food during your recovery period if no sedation is given. 
  4. Once we have confirmed that your arm or leg has stopped bleeding we will mobilize you. 
  5. The doctor will discuss with you and your family the results of the test or treatment. 
  6. Your cannula will be removed and you will be ready to be discharged. 
  7. Your nurse will explain to you how to care for the arterial puncture site at home. 
  8. You will be given a report with the test results. 
  9. You may have some bruising at the site of the catheter insertion which may remain a  little sore for a day or two.  Painkillers such as Paracetamol will help ease this pain.

Know your risk factors 

  1. Keep your blood sugar level under control.  
  2. If you smoke, stop smoking.  
  3. Lower your cholesterol level.  
  4. Control your blood pressure.  
  5. Lose weight – and keep it off. 
  6. Increase your physical activity.
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