Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure used for a variety of purposes, including assessment of the coronary arteries for:

Pre-Operative Details for Cardiac Catheterization

Your surgeon will give specific instructions before cardiac catheterization surgery, including risks such as bleeding, infection, or adverse reaction to anesthesia.

Please be sure to contact your insurance company for coverage.

You will also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to go over your medical history. Please do not eat after midnight the night before your surgery.

On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the hospital, register, and change into a hospital gown. A nurse will review your chart to make sure there are no problems.

The anesthesiologist will then start an IV and you will be taken to the operating room, where the surgeon will verify your name and procedure before any medication is given. Surgery will begin once you are under local anesthesia.

Operative Details for Cardiac Catheterization

The surgeon will make a small incision in the groin area and insert a guide wire into the femoral artery. The surgeon will then insert a catheter (a small hollow tube) over the guide wire and into the femoral artery to act as a conduit.

Once gaining access through the arterial system, the surgeon can perform a variety of procedures.  

To assess the coronary arteries for blockage, a catheter with a hole at the top for dye release is guided up to the aorta near the aortic valve. It is here that the coronary arteries supply blood to the heart tissue itself. The surgeon will then inject dye into the left and right coronary artery and see it on the monitor using a type of X-ray technique called fluoroscopy. When the dye releases, it will show how the blood flows, allowing the surgeon to see the areas of narrowing.

Once the procedure is complete, all catheters and guide wires are removed and the incision is closed with stitches.  

Post-Operative Details for Cardiac Catheterization

After cardiac catheterization surgery, you will be taken to the post-operative recovery area and monitored. The length of your hospital stay depends on how quickly you’re able to recover and perform some physical activity, as well as your underlying disease status.

Please let your doctor know immediately if you experience fever, severe pain, redness, swelling, warmth where the incisions were made, or drainage from the incisions. Your surgeon will give specific instructions about recovery time. Please avoid lifting and showering for a couple of days after the procedure.  

Request an Appointment

To meet with a cardiac catheterization specialist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.