What is a cardiac catheterization? And Shaio

Although it is a common, safe, easy and quick technique to perform to diagnose or treat heart disease, there are still doubts about this procedure, which is why we talk to Dr. Pablo Castro Covelli, hemodynamic cardiologist at Clínica Shaio, to solve some frequently asked questions.

What is cardiac catheterization?

It is a procedure that is done by inserting a thin and flexible tube or catheter through a blood vessel, either through the groin or the arm until it reaches the heart, to diagnose or treat heart conditions such as blockages or arrhythmias, and to know the ‘state in which the heart, heart valves and blood vessels are located.

Is every procedure performed through blood vessels called catheterization?

Catheterism is a very broad concept, for a procedure that is carried out depending on what you want to verify in a patient, for example, when you need to check the coronary arteries it is called coronary arteriography, in the case of studying the pressure pulmonary can be a right or left catheterization. There are also other procedures such as lower limb arteriography, renal arteriography, carotid arteriography, and pulmonary arteriography.

What risks can exist in a cardiac catheterization?

The risks are getting lower and lower but they do not cease to exist, in accordance with the patient’s clinical assessment before performing the procedure, the necessary measures are taken to avoid minor complications such as bleeding, infections or pain at the site of the procedure insertion, something to highlight is that the older the patient is the higher the probability of bleeding.

How long does it take?

The procedure when it is a diagnosis is done in a relatively short time between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the severity of the pathology that the patient has or the diagnosis that must be defined, it can be extended to more time and must do a special procedure.

How long does it take to recover from a cardiac catheterization?

Recovery depends on the patient’s state of health, if he does not have a very severe pathology, recovery can take 4 hours, given that the procedure is performed through the radial artery, the patient can already move during this time. When coronary arteriography is performed and no significant lesions are found and medical follow-up is possible, it is a patient who can go home perfectly and resume his normal life.

The important thing is to know that although it is a procedure that is not painful, it is uncomfortable because it generates stress for the patient, which can have an impact on their recovery time.

Can something go wrong while doing this procedure?

This depends on what is meant by “going wrong”, sometimes patients think that if a pathology is detected with this technique it is because something went very wrong, this is not entirely true, making a diagnosis is the first step to treat any heart disease. Complications may be related to patient anxiety or hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing) during the procedure.

What does the body feel like when a cardiac catheterization is done?

Catheterism is a procedure that doesn’t hurt because when the catheter enters a vein or artery you don’t feel anything, because they don’t have nerves, but there is some sensation of heat when a contrast agent is injected.

What is injected into a process like these?

The only thing that can be injected is a contrast medium, which is a solution that makes the heart structures light up when X-rayed, this fluid is removed from the body by the kidney.

Can you exercise after having a cardiac catheterization?

If the patient is not hospitalized, normal physical activity can be carried out 48 hours after the procedure, as long as he does not have any coronary lesions.

what is a stent?

It is a device that is placed inside the arteries or veins to contain the plaque, which has been dilated by the separation of the muscular layers of the circulatory pathways and is expected to close.

It is important to emphasize that to prevent cardiovascular diseases it is not enough to perform this type of procedure, it is also essential to control any risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides.

At the Shaio Clinic we perform diagnostic and treatment procedures for highly complex cardiovascular diseases, congenital heart diseases, acquired valvular diseases or coronary artery diseases, with the aim of improving the quality of life of patients.

This article had the advice of Dr. Pablo Castro Covelli, hemodynamic cardiologist at the Shaio Clinic

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