Answers to your questions about heart catheterization

Cardiac catheterization , or heart catheterization, is a procedure that allows a heart health specialist to evaluate how well the heart is working. This procedure is performed to diagnose the problem, but the heart care specialist may also perform treatments during it. If you have any questions about your heart health, the specialists at MountainView Hospital are always here to help.

Why do I need heart catheterization?

Your doctor may recommend heart catheterization if you’re suspected of having heart disease. Heart catheterization can accomplish the following:

  • Locate blockages in the blood vessels
  • Measure oxygen levels
  • Evaluate the heart’s pumping ability
  • Check for heart defects
  • Check for heart valve problems

Is heart catheterization the same as an angiogram?

An angiogram is an imaging scan of an artery. It uses contrast dye to get a better image. Heart catheterization is a type of angiogram of the heart and arteries.

How can heart catheterization treat the problem?

During the heart catheterization, your doctor may perform other procedures, such as coronary angioplasty. Coronary angioplasty is used when blockages are found in the blood vessels. It works by using a special balloon to press the blockage against the artery wall and widen the blood vessel. In other words, coronary angioplasty during heart catheterization can quickly restore blood flow to the heart when a patient is having a heart attack.

Will I be asleep during the procedure?

It isn’t usually necessary to place patients under general anesthesia during heart catheterization. The procedure is minimally invasive, requiring only a small cut to insert a thin catheter into the blood vessel. Most patients are quite comfortable with a local numbing agent and a sedative to help them relax.

How long does heart catheterization take?

Most patients are finished in one to two hours, but others may need two to four hours. Your doctor might ask you to stay at the hospital overnight or you may be able to return home the same day. A responsible adult will need to take you home and stay with you for a while.

MountainView Hospital is renowned for our superior heart care. At our modern hospital in Las Vegas, our specialists provide a continuum of advanced medical services—from diagnosis to intervention to rehabilitation. Call a registered nurse at our heart hospital at (702) 962-5021 or visit our Heart Center online to read about our state-of-the-art catheterization labs.