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CARDIAC CATH - WHAT TO EXPECT

  
If you are an outpatient, you will need to go to Hardin Memorial Hospital’s Pre-Admitting Planning (PAPP) office prior to your scheduled test date. Once you are at the PAPP office, a registered nurse will provide education about your procedure, and obtain lab, EKG, and chest X-ray to prepare for your Cardiac Catheterization and also answer any questions you may have regarding your exam day. If you are an inpatient, these tests and teaching may already have been performed.

On the morning of your scheduled exam, report to the HMH reception desk. From here you will be taken directly to your room and asked to put on a patient gown. A small needle, called an IV, will be put in your arm. Before you are taken down for your test you will need to empty your bladder. The Cath Lab is located on the first floor of the hospital and operates Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with on-call after-hours and weekend coverage.

A family member or friend may go with you to the Cath Lab, but will be asked to stay in the waiting area as you enter the Lab. In the Cath Lab you will be assisted onto an X-ray table and given a blanket. The room temperature may be chilly due to the equipment and computers that must be kept cool. Once you are on the X-ray table, you will be connected to a heart monitor and a blood pressure monitor. Also, the circulation in your feet will be monitored.

If you are nervous or anxious at all about the exam, medicine can be provided through your IV to help you relax. The entire exam will last approximately 30 minutes. Your physician will feel for your pulse in your groin area. Your groin area on the left or right side will be shaved and then scrubbed with a special medicinal soap. You will then be covered from your chin to your toes with a large blue sheet. Next, your physician will numb the skin to insert the small hollow tube into your artery which will stay in place during the test. You may feel a stinging, burning sensation for about 20 seconds while your skin is being numbed. The catheters will go inside the first tube and be passed through the blood vessel leading to the heart. Do not worry, there will be no discomfort at this stage. X-ray dye will be injected through the catheters into the arteries as X-ray pictures are taken. While most people do not feel the dye when the pictures are taken of the arteries, you will feel warm all over when a picture is taken of the main pumping chamber of the heart. Throughout the test, the staff will let you know what to expect and will be monitoring you closely.

After your exam, you will be moved onto a stretcher and taken to the Cath Lab recovery area. The small tube in your leg will be removed, and bleeding will be controlled. Your nurse will monitor your blood pressure and your heart, and check your leg for bleeding. When the puncture is sealed, a dressing will be applied and you will be taken back to your room.

You will be on bed rest for a short time following your exam. Alert your nurse immediately if there is any discomfort where the tube was inserted. The first time you get up, you will need help from your nurse, this is important because you may feel dizzy or the artery could bleed. Drink lots of liquids to flush the dye out of your body. Most patients can eat after returning to their room. These instructions will be further explained to you and your family while in recovery.

Your physician will decide when you can go home. If you are allowed to return home the same day as your exam, DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF OR STAY ALONE THAT NIGHT.

Other Cardiac Catheterization Lab Services include:

  • Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty
  • Coronary Stenting
  • Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Rotational Atherectomy
  • Right and Left Heart Catheterization with or without Grafts
  • Temporary and Permanent Cardiac Pacemaker Insertion
  • Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
  • Directional Coronary Atherectomy
  • Myocardial Biopsies
  • Pericardiostomies

Hardin Memorial Hospital. 913 N. Dixie Ave. Elizabethtown KY 42701.
Phone (270) 737-1212
Contact HMH