Cardiac Catheterization

Amidst the wide array of services provided at Palisades Medical Center devoted to fostering unparalleled cardiovascular disease prevention, there is none more essential than our Cardiac Catheterization Unit. Simply put, we have the finest clinical teams and the best state-of-the-art equipment available to both diagnose and intervene. When it comes to the health of the heart and providing cardiovascular care, Palisades Medical Center is one of the elite hospitals in all of New Jersey.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization (heart cath) is the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart. This is done for both investigational and interventional purposes.

An experienced and dedicated team will provide you with the highest quality care available. Your medical team includes proven, board certified invasive Cardiologist, and highly skilled invasive cardiology registered nurses, cardiovascular technologists and monitor technicians.

Every professional staff member of the department is certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and all nurses are certified Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

Palisades Medical Center offers an unparallel array of services in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment, complementary medicine and follow up care. As a patient, you will have access to the latest resources in diagnostic imaging, conservative and innovative treatment options, progressive cardiovascular medicine and hands on care. This is because of our partnership with the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the physicians on faculty at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Scheduling of Your Procedure

The office of your referring cardiologist or physician will schedule your cardiac catheterization procedure. They will inform you of the date and time of your scheduled procedure and will also arrange your pre-admission testing.

How to prepare for your Cardiac Catheterization

  • Fasting Requirements: do not to eat or drink anything at midnight prior to your procedure.
  • Medication Requirements: diabetic patients need to discuss your insulin levels and nutritional (food) ingestion with your physician prior to your procedure.

Also, ask your physician about any prescription medication considerations and whether you should stop or continue taking those medications prior to your procedure.

It is particularly important for patients on blood thinners to be advised by their physicians on precautions to take prior to the procedure. In addition, you will have been sedated during your procedure. As a result, you must have someone with you to drive you home. However, you should pack a small bag of overnight essentials in the event you do stay overnight. Most patients who undergo a routine angiography will be able to go home the same day after spending some time in the cardiac recovery unit.

Your Cardiac Catheterization Procedure

A small area of the groin or arm is shaved and cleansed where the catheter will be inserted. Patients are given a mild sedative to help them relax but will remain awake during the procedure to allow them to answer questions regarding their comfort level, any chest pain or shortness of breath. Medication will then be used to anesthetize (numb) the area so a small incision can be made where the catheter will be inserted.

Your procedure is nonsurgical and is performed under X-ray guidance where a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through a small incision made by the physician in the artery (blood vessel) in the thigh up into the heart. Occasionally, an artery in the arm is used.

Once the catheter is in place, a colorless dye is injected through the catheter, and X-ray pictures are taken of the heart and coronary arteries with special imaging equipment. The special imaging equipment allows the specialist to view certain functions of your heart and arteries, diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment.

The test takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour to perform, and because patients are awake, they'll be able to view the procedure on the monitor (if they want to) while it takes place.

Recovery and what to expect

Details and results of the cardiac catheterization procedure will be explained to you in the recovery room. Information will also be provided on the type of cardiac catheterization which was performed.

During recovery, A bandaid or pressure dressing will be placed over the area where the catheter was inserted. You will lay down flat with your head elevated slightly for approximately 6 to 8 hours.

If the insertion site was your groin, you will be asked to not move your leg in order to prevent bleeding. A sandbag may also be placed at the insertion site to apply pressure and prevent internal bleeding. During your 6 to 8 hour recovery time, a nurse will observe you and monitor you heart rate, blood pressure and pulse near the insertion site, and check frequently for signs of bleeding. Try to avoid coughing or sneezing. However, if you can't avoid it, apply pressure at the insertion site when you cough or sneeze.

Most patients are discharged in 8 hours with minimal activity restrictions. It is very important that you drink plenty of fluids during recovery and upon discharge to flush the dye out of your body.

Report the following Signs and Symptoms Immediately

You should immediately inform your nurse if you feel weak or dizzy; are short of breathing; begin bleeding; or experience any discomfort or pain at the insertion site or in the chest, neck, jaw or upper back.

What are the complications associated with the procedure?

Bruising to the area where the catheter was inserted may occur but is only temporary. Some patients experience nausea and vomiting or an allergic reaction. More serious complications are rare and include damage to blood vessels, blood clots, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attack or stroke.

State of the Art Catheterization Diagnostic Technology

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Palisades Medical Center utilizes the latest, most technologically advanced diagnostic equipment for our patients cardiac catheterization procedures. The Series IV Physiomonitoring and Information System is the premier system for DICOM cine and gio imaging allowing your cardio team to effectively collect extensive and accurate data at your point-of-care.

The Series IV's digital front-end system takes advantage of the latest Digital Signal Processing Technology to tailor image quality and acquisition parameters to best meet our patients clinical needs, and provide the best diagnostic analysis and solutions available.

Most importantly for you, the technology offered to our patients in our cardiac catheterization lab keeps pace with the limitless evolution of cardiovascular medicine.

Coronary Tree

Data that is rendered in the coronary tree or peripheral diagram during the catheterization procedure is instantly captured and automatically registered into a hyper-linked database. This graphical representation and data becomes a permanent part of the patient's historical record and will always be available for future review, analysis and integration into relevant medical reports.

The Cardiac Catheterization Procedure can help detect:

  • Blockage of the coronary arteries (Coronary Disease)
  • Valve disorders
  • Abnormalities in the pumping function of the heart
  • Congenital heart disease

What Is A Coronary Angiography?

A coronary angiography is a diagnostic tool during which a cardiac dye is injected through a catheter into the heart. An image of the coronary arteries is then displayed on a monitoring order to reveal any narrowing or blockages.