Frequently Asked Questions
What are the signs of a heart attack?
- Chest discomfort – this includes an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing fullness or pain located in the center of the chest.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Breaking into a cold sweat, feeling nauseated or lightheaded.
How does the diagnostic catheterization work?
A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin in the groin area and a very small incision or “puncture” is made.
A thin, flexible tube known as a catheter is placed into the leg artery. Your cardiologist will thread the catheter through the artery to your heart. A special dye is then injected through the catheter, allowing your doctor to see heart valves and arteries on the x-ray screen.
You may experience a warm sensation in your chest when the x-ray dye is injected.
How long does the Cardiac Cath procedure take? What is the recovery time? Will I have to stay overnight?
The cath procedure itself takes only 15-30 minutes. The usual prep time is 1-2 hours prior, with a recovery time of 2-4 hours. Unless you have other complications unrelated to the cath, you would not be required to stay overnight; unless your physician decides otherwise.
What can I expect after the diagnostic catheterization is complete?
After your procedure, you will return to your private care room. Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored through our central monitoring system.
Specially trained staff will apply pressure at your groin puncture site until any oozing from the puncture site is controlled.
You will remain flat in bed for 2 hours, after which you may gradually begin moderate activity under observation during the next 1 to 2 hours.
Soon after your procedure you will be offered ice chips. Later in the day you will be offered liquid beverages and a light meal.
Is a Heart Scan right for me?
A Heart Scan is a CT scan conducted on St. Anthony’s 16-Slice CT scanner measuring the calcium load in the coronary arteries which can lead to future cardiac events, such as heart attack. The information provided by the scan can be used by your physician to recommend appropriate interventions.
Anyone 40 or older could benefit from having a Heart Scan, particularly those with these risk factors:
History of Smoking
Lack of Physical Activity
High Blood Pressure
Family History of Heart Disease