Cardiac catheterization, or heart catheterization, is a procedure used to diagnose heart conditions. There are certain situations in which your doctor may recommend that you consider heart catheterization, so it is beneficial to know what you can expect if you do undergo the procedure.
What Is Heart Catheterization?
With this imaging procedure, a catheter is threaded through a blood vessel and into the heart. The doctor is then allowed to visualize and record the movements of your heart and its valves, chambers and arteries. In many cases, this procedure is the first step in a two-part interventional procedure, such as opening a clogged artery by inflating a balloon catheter and placing a stent.
When Is Heart Catheterization Done?
If you’ve been told that you’re at high risk for heart disease, our doctor may recommend this procedure to determine the extent of potential damage to your heart, evaluate how well your heart functions and determine whether you need further treatment. If possible, treatment such as balloon angioplasty can be completed at the time of the catheterization, preventing the need for a second surgery.
People at high risk for heart disease include males; those with a family history of heart disease; older adults; women who have gone through menopause; certain races, including African Americans, American Indians and Mexican-Americans; people who smoke; and those who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, are obese or lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Our doctor can help you learn more about your individual risk factors and recommend whether heart catheterization is right for you. Although this procedure involves the heart, precautions are taken by our surgical team to make the procedure as safe as possible.
What Should I Expect During the Procedure?
A heart catheterization only takes about 30 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. After the procedure, you will be observed for a length of time before being discharged. You can return to normal activities fairly quickly.
Learn More About Heart Catheterization
Heart catheterization is a great way to determine how well your heart is functioning. This procedure allows our medical team to see all the ins and outs of your heart to make sure it is performing properly. During a consultation at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida, you can ask us any questions you may have about this procedure. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at our office in Fort Myers.