Cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure we use to diagnose and treat heart conditions. During this procedure, a thin tube is threaded through your blood vessels into the right or left side your heart. This allows your doctor to do diagnostic tests or provide you with certain treatments. You'll be given medications to help you relax before the procedure begins and you will remain awake the entire time. You care team will include a cardiologist, x-ray technician, nurse, pharmacist as well as and a variety of other health-care providers. After the procedure is complete, you'll recover fairly quickly, and there's generally a low risk of complications. Please always bring your medications or a current medication list with you to hospital before your procedure.

There are two different ways you could undergo this procedure, they are: 

Inpatient

  • You will be admitted to KGH from another hospital or through KGH's Emergency department. 
  • You may be placed on telemetry to monitor your heart.
  • Your medications maybe altered or stopped, you may be given a blood thinner and we will ask you about any allergies you may have. 
  • You will have an IV inserted and blood work will be performed.
  • We will talk to you about why you need an angiogram procedure and then we'll ask to sign a consent form before moving ahead with the procedure. 
  • Once the angiogram is booked, you'll be put on a light diet before the procedure.
  • You'll be given a hospital gown to wear for the procedure.
  • Your doctors and nurses in the CV lab will explain the procedure to you before beginning. 
  • The procedure will begin by having the catheter inserted through either your wrist or groin.

  • The procedure should take about 30-60 minutes to complete. You will be given medication to keep you comfortable during the angiogram, and you will remain awake and will be able to talk with the team during the procedure.
  • Large machines in the room will take pictures of your heart vessels and your team will evaluate the heart valves and your heart muscle.
  • If there are blockages in your blood vessels, a stent inserted may be inserted to relieve the blockages.
  • After the procedure you will be monitored briefly in the CV lab recovery area, the short stay unit on Davies 3 or in the Cardiac Sciences Unit.
  • If you are an admitted patient, you will return to your hospital room.  

Same Day route

  • KGH will receive a referral from your doctor by fax. Your information will then be entered into the Cardiac Care Network registry which is designed to ensure you receive timely access to the cardiac care you require. The wait time for cardiac procedures varies depending on the number of other patients on the list and how urgent their needs are. If you feel the wait time for your procedure is unacceptably long, you can speak with a cardiac care coordinator about your other options by phoning 613-548-1399.
  • You will receive an appointment date as well as instructions from the charge nurse of your referring hospital. Once a date has been decided, your transportation to KGH will be arranged. Your appointment time will be booked on a priority basis and may be changed on short notice if there is a patient in need of more urgent care.
  • You may have breakfast before the procedure begins and you may eat after the procedure is completed.
  • You will arrive at KGH via ambulance or a transfer service from your referring hospital. You will then be taken to the admitting department in the Armstrong wing to check in.
  • After registering, you will be taken directly to the CV lab located on Kidd 3. Your family or friends are welcome to wait in the family area located on Kidd 3.
  • Once you are in the CV lab,  you will be settled onto either a stretcher or a reclining chair. 
  • The nurse will ask you to change into a hospital gown, perform an assessment on you and check for a working IV.
  • Your doctor will then speak with you about the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • Your procedure will take place as shortly after you arrive at KGH, however if there is an emergency case, your procedure may be delayed.
  • The procedure should take about 30-60 minutes to complete. You will be given medication to keep you comfortable during the angiogram, and you will remain awake and will be able to talk with the team during the procedure.

  • Large machines in the room will take pictures of your heart vessels and your team will evaluate the heart valves and your heart muscle.

  • If there are blockages in your blood vessels, a stent inserted may be inserted to relieve the blockages.

  • Post procedure pamphlets will be provided to you and family after the procedure is complete. 

Recovery after the procedure

Your recovery may differ slightly depending on how your procedure was completed. For example:

Wrist approach

If the angiogram is performed though your wrist, you often will be able to recover in a recliner chair. You be given medication to help with any discomfort and will have a band to hold pressure on your wrist afterwards. The nurses will gradually release the pressure on your wrist and after the band has been removed a nurse will provide you with any information you require. During this time we will also monitor your blood pressure and heart rate on a regular basis. Afterwards you will return to your home or community hospital. The community hospital that referred you to KGH will receive a copy of the angiogram report and will organize follow up care as needed.

Femoral approach

If the angiogram is done through your leg, you will recover on a stretcher and will be asked to lay flat for anywhere for a period of time that will be determined by your medical team. A clamp may also be used to hold pressure on your leg. The nurses will be check your leg frequently as well as monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and your level of comfort. Your doctor will explain your test results to you during this time. When you are ready to leave the hospital, you will be given a pamphlet with information about your after-care. The community hospital that referred you to KGH will receive a copy of the angiogram report and will organize follow-up care as needed.