Cardiac catheterisation is a diagnostic test to find out detailed information about how your heart and coronary arteries are working. It can also provide treatment for some heart conditions at the same time.
What is a cardiac catheterisation
Cardiac catheterisation is an invasive procedure used to see if you have a disease of the heart muscle, valves or coronary arteries, and to treat certain heart conditions. It is sometimes called a coronary angiogram or cardiac angiography.
A long thin tube, called a catheter, is inserted into your artery or vein in your groin or arm and is passed into your heart using X-ray scanning.
You will have a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the catheter is put in. You will be linked to a heart monitor that records your heart rate and rhythm.
A special dye, called a contrast dye, is injected to allow your doctor to see any narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries. They may also take a detailed look at your left heart chamber.
Your doctor can perform heart disease treatment at the same time if needed. This includes coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting to open or help widen heart arteries and improve blood flow to your heart.
Cardiac catheterisation is invasive and treatments can be carried out at the same time. This means it is often used for patients who have a known, or who are high risk of, coronary artery disease. These patients can benefit from diagnosis and stent or angioplasty treatment as one procedure.
What is a cardiac catheterisation done for?
Cardiac catheterisation is done to see if you have a heart problem and to treat a known heart problem.
A diagnostic cardiac catheterisation test can help your doctor to:
- Locate narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries that can cause chest pain in angina and blood clots in a heart attack.
- Measure blood pressure and oxygen levels in the four chambers of your heart.
- Evaluate the pumping ability of your heart.
- Take a small sample of heart tissue to examine under a microscope (biopsy).
- Diagnose congenital heart defects.
- Look for problems with your heart valves or chambers.
Cardiac catheterisation is also used as part of some treatment procedures for heart disease including:
- Angioplasty - widening narrowed artery, with or without a stent
- Congenital defect repair - closing holes in the heart
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Balloon valvuloplasty - opening narrow heart valves
- Ablation – to treat irregular heart rhythms
- Blood clot prevention – by closing off part of your heart.
What is the recovery process after a heart catheterisation?
Recovery time for a diagnostic cardiac catheterisation is quick.
You can expect to go home the same day after a diagnostic heart catheterisation or coronary angiogram. If you have treatment during your heart catheterisation, you may need to stay in hospital overnight or longer.
You should follow your doctor’s advice and instructions regarding your recovery and medications.
We will arrange a follow-up appointment for you to check how you are doing after your procedure.
You can expect to return to your normal activities the day after the procedure if no other interventions were performed. If your cardiac catheterisation was part of another procedure it may take longer until you can resume your daily activities.
You may have a small bruise where the catheter was inserted. This should go down after a week or so.
What is the cost of a cardiac catheterisation
The cost of a cardiac catheterisation will depend on whether it is purely diagnostic or if it was performed as part of other heart treatment, as well as your Ramsay hospital of choice.
You will receive a formal quotation price for your cardiac catheterisation following your consultation with one of our expert cardiologists. This formal quote for cardiac catheterisation will be valid for 60 days.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Cardiac catheterisation is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before having your cardiac catheterisation.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your cardiac catheterisation test yourself. We offer interest-free finance so you pay 0% interest, no deposit and benefit from affordable monthly instalments.
Cardiac catheterisation at Ramsay Health Care
Ramsay Health Care UK offers cardiac catheterisation for both diagnostic and treatment purposes.
We understand it can be distressing when you do not fully understand why you have symptoms. You can book prompt and convenient appointments for your cardiac catheterisation. Our expert cardiologists can diagnose your heart condition, alleviate your worries, and offer appropriate treatment.
We have dedicated cardiac catheter laboratories or multipurpose angiography suites to perform cardiac catheterisation at a local Ramsay hospital of your choice.
With strict infection control protocols in place, we provide access to safe hospital care.