Cardiac catheterization can be an ‘Out -Patient or ‘In -Patient’ procedure. Out-Patient procedure means the patient walks into the hospital in the morning and usually walks back after resting for a few hours after the procedure. The patient may need overnight stay, if she is not feeling completely well.
The patient must not eat anything for 6 – 8 hours before the procedure. His groin or wrist area is shaved and cleaned.
Once on the special cath lab table, the patient is given a mild sedative to keep him calm. A local anaesthetic is injected in the groin to eliminate pain and discomfort.
A straw like sheath about 2 mm wide is inserted into the femoral (groin) or wrist artery. Catheters are threaded inside the femoral (groin) or wrist artery through the sheath.
To being with, specially shaped catheters will be passed into the Left Main (LM) Artery or the Right Coronary Artery (RCA). A radio opaque medicine is injected and moving X-ray pictures are taken. The X-ray source and the camera are rotated around the patient to get different views of the coronary arteries.
The radio-opaque medicine can be seen spurting into the coronaries and outlining their smaller branches.
The other coronary arteries are similarly photographed.
Most patients do not feel uncomfortable as the dye passes into their coronaries.
The actual angiography procedure does not take more than 10 minutes.