Diagnosing Heart Disease
Cardiac catheterization can help doctors diagnose a number of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and defective heart valves.
During the procedure, a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin or arm. Then it is advanced slowly through the arteries until it reaches the heart. Once in place, the catheter can be used to measure the pressures inside your heart, so you doctor can find out how well your heart is pumping and how well its valves are working.
A cath can also be used to insert dye to perform two other types of diagnostic tests: coronary arteriogram and left ventriculogram. A coronary angiogram helps your doctor detect blockages in the coronary arteries. A left ventriculogram is used to look at the main pumping chamber of the heart.
A diagnostic heart catheterization takes between 30 and 60 minutes to perform. Patients are cared for before and after the procedure in our cardiovascular observation unit. An overnight stay is not normally required.
Cardiovascular Observation Unit
Located in the hospital's Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute, the 29-bed unit is staffed by registered nurses and nursing assistants.
Patients who are going to receive a diagnostic heart cath (described above) or an electrophysiology study are admitted directly to the unit. There, they are prepared for the procedure. After the cath or EP study is completed, patients return to the unit where they recover before going home.
Family members may remain with the patient before and after the procedure.