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Cardiac catheterisation involves inserting a very thin tube into the right side of your heart.

What is cardiac catheterisation?

Cardiac catheterisation is performed to determine if you have any problems in your coronary arteries as well as identify how well your pumping chambers and valves in your heart are working.

Benefits of cardiac catheterisation

A cardiac catheterisation will provide your consultant with information about your heart that they couldn't have got from other tests.

Is cardiac catheterisation right for me?

Your consultant might recommend cardiac catheterisation for you if you have:

  • Narrow or blocked coronary arteries
  • Damaged or faulty heart valves
  • Weak heart muscle

What happens during cardiac catheterisation?

You will be asked to lie on your back and may be given a sedative or painkiller.

Your oxygen levels will be monitored throughout the procedure by an oxygen monitor clipped on your finger or toe. Sticky pads will be place on your chest or arms to monitor your heart.

Antiseptic will be used to clean the area where the sheath will be inserted. The sheath is usually inserted near your wrist or groin.

Your consultant will insert a local anaesthetic into the area over the artery before inserting the sheath. When they are happy that the sheath is in the right position, a catheter will be inserted through the sheath and into your artery. Medication may be provided through the catheter to widen your artery. Your consultant will then pass the catheter along your artery to your heart - they will use x-rays to help guide them into the right position.

Your consultant will inject dye into the catheter so they can take x-rays to identify where your arteries have narrowed.

When the consultant has all of the information they need they will remove the catheter and sheath and will press firmly where the sheath was inserted to help the hole to heal.

A cardiac catheterisation usually takes 30 minutes.

You may be asked to rest in bed for up to 4 hours to reduce the risk of bruising.

Recovery from cardiac catheterisation

You should be able to go home the same day of your procedure. However if you require further treatment you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

You should not drive for at least 24 hours after your surgery and not until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and co-ordination. If the sheath was inserted into your groin you should not drive for at least 2 days after your procedure.

Do not have a bath for 2-3 days after your procedure.

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