Cardiac Catherization

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My stress test indicate a possible blockage and I am undergoing a catherization on Monday.

Can any of you that have gone thru this share your experience during and after the procedure?

I am particularly nervous about the cameras as the ones used for the stress test cause me to panic...the feeling of being pinned down.

And I have afib so not sure if it complicates matters.

Thank you in advance for any info.


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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Kathy,

    I've had 2 caths, one in 1996 and the last one in 2010.  With the first one my BP (220/120) could not be controlled ,however the cardiologist performing the cath was the best at that time, unfortunately he later succumbed to cancer.  He was able to do a cath in less time than any other cardiologist and was ranked 

    very high.  I had a left heart cath and a right heart cath because I have a congenital heart defect.  The 2

    took less than 30 minutes to do.  The last cath was performed by my current card and a collagen "plug"

    was injected into the artery afterwards, which was much better than the first one, which required a 5lb.

    sand bag that was laid on my groin to prevent any bleeding from the puncture site.  You should do just

    fine, provided you have a good cardiologist performing the procedure.  I had afib at the time of my caths, 

    but I was on digoxin, so I experienced no issues.  Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Scotgal for replying so quickly!

      I have complete faith in my doctor. However, I wasn't told there were right and left side possible bockage is located in anterior area.

      I hope they go thru wrist rather than groin, but was told that decision is made when I have procedure.

      Is the collagen plug you describe the equivalent of a stent?

      I am also on digoxen...

      Thank you.


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    • Posted

      Kathy, go with the cardiologist’s preferences. Some are not keen on wrist entries and think the groin gives them better access to the coronary arteries; others don’t mind which.
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  • Posted

    I've had three possible blockages showing from stress tests and each was a false positive. If you get a good doctor it will be over in ten minutes. What type of stress test did you have as I didn't have camera or  X-Ray machine pressing on my chest.

    There were X-ray machines above my chest when having angiogram/catheterisation.Though from your spelling you are probably in America where they may do things differently from the UK.

    No after effects after any of mine. A fib will not be a problem as they are well used to that. As they said to me when you are in the cath lab it is the safest place in the world. 


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    • Posted

      Hi Derek!

      Thanks for responding so quickly!

      I had the nuclear stress test due to being in permanent afib.

      After they inject the dye/thallium they lay you out on a gurney type table with 2 huge cameras that rotate around your chest area to take pictures. It takes about 20 minutes for the rotation the 1st day...then you come back the next day for a shorter set of pics after dye is out of your system.

      The two cameras are about 3 inches from your chest..ugh!

      I have heard of false positives...especially with women, but am pretty sure something is going on due to increased shortness of breath and fatigue! I just hope to get this over and behind me, but know heart disease will be a lifelong condition.

      Yes, I am in the US!

      Thanks for the reassurance about the safety of the cath lab.


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  • Posted

    The worse thing about the catherization for me was the wait. I reported to the hospital at 8 a.m. Shortly after that a nurse put IV in and shaved my wrist and groining (btw a cute nurse) I sat in a hospital bed until 1230. I was scheduled for it at 1100 but Dr was running late.

    I remember being wheelchaired into to procedure room and walking up to the bed and laying down. After that they strap your arm down tight to a board like thing. Dr said that when they go in through the wrist some patients have a reaction to it and reflexes take over. He didn't want to get hit in the face. Dr talked a couple of seconds about I might remember some things as you go in and out of consciousness. I do remember that he had on rock and roll music to listen to.

    The next thing I remember is waking up a couple of times and seeing the x-ray machine but only a couple of seconds. Then it was all over. They wheeled me into a recovery room where my wife was waiting. After about an hour later the Dr came in a we talked and I was let go.

    No stints and I felt fine had a normal supper and went back to work in the morning.

    Easy peasy

    Hopefully yours will be just as easy as mine. Even after the procedure I never had any wrist problems or soreness just a little red spot where they went in at.

    I hope this helps you.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Mark.

      I was told they give a sedative to relax you, but initially I thought that meant you were awake but aware.

      Several ppl have told you...that you are really barely awake which suits me fine!

      I hope I don't have to wait too long Monday morning as I am already nervous. I report to the hospital at 8am, but procedure isn't until 10.

      Hope the doc is running EARLY. My husband is kind of anxious himself so I don't want him waiting too long...

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Are you doing okay now?


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    • Posted

      Not really. The reason that I had the cath was after blood test, heart monitor, CT scan on heart all normal but a stress test was abnormal.

      So since cath which found one 70% all others at 40 Dr decided not to stint but treat with cholesterol and high BP drugs. That was on Good Friday.

      Since CT scan on head, CT scan on sinse, chest x-rays, full eye exam, MRI on head. Neroligest doesn't know what's up with me. ER was no help

      I've seen 5 different Drs in 6 months. Every single one says it's not my heart.

      I am very dizzy, both hands get numb, very fatigued and my lower right chest hurts ( Drs say cologiest (sp) inflammation on ribs and organs)

      I was healthy 57 year old, on no meds my whole life. But please don't worry about me.

      You will be fine. The cath is nothing and if you do have blockage they will take good care of you. It's too bad they make you wait all weekend. Mine was scheduled in 2 days so I didn't have alot of time to think about it.

      Please let everybody on this thread know how it goes on Monday.

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    • Posted

      The first angiogram I had was through the groin and they gave the task of applying pressure on my groin with her hand to a very nice young nurse. The next time was through my wrist and it only needed a tight strap round it and I didn't need to lay flat and still. I was also there at 8am and they had several emergencies and it was not done until nearly six PM.


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    • Posted

      I was glad they knocked me out for mine. I have no problems with needles and such but something about the procedure. It's like at the dentist office and they say oh that bad. Makes your mind over think it. I guess I should be happy mine was done around 12 and not 6

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    • Posted

      Kathy, be careful of the various responses; I have never had a full anaesthesia for a stent but for the longer procedure of an ablation they are essential. 

      I have watched several of mine and found them fascinating! Don’t worry.

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  • Posted

    Kathy, I am 83 and had several blockages and subsequent infarction in 1992. I have since had 7 stents inserted over the years. I further developed atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats)  years ago followed by atrial tachycardia ( abnormally rapid heart rate) . 

    I have had 3 ablation to correct these and am in good shape now . Than first two were in 2012 and needed another this year . However , I played 1.5 hours tennis this week and walked 13 holes on a golf course on Tuesday.

    The aim of this recital is to tell you that these procedures are fairly common now and are nothing to be worried aboutabout and I am very well and do a lot of excercise.

    After the first MI in 1992 I resumed my annual 2 skiing holidays . Don’t worry just remember that these procedures are quite normal and well practised. 

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