Thank you for choosing Rose Medical Center for your cardiac care. Our goal is to make your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Please let our knowledgeable and friendly staff know if there is anything we can do to improve your experience.

What is a Cardiac Catheterization?

A Cardiac Catheterization (Coronary Angiogram/Left Heart Catheterization/Right Heart Catheterization), also called a Coronary Angiogram, is an invasive procedure that allows your doctor to evaluate your heart’s function. The procedure can evaluate your coronary arteries, heart valves, and aorta. It determines if an interventional procedure or coronary artery bypass is necessary. We will be using x-ray and contrast dye to get an image of your coronary arteries which will allow us to assess for coronary artery disease. We are also able to look at your heart muscle function. At the time your procedure is scheduled, your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure.

Why is this procedure being done?

Your doctor may be performing this procedure to get information about your heart and blood vessels (coronary arteries). Your doctor will be able to diagnose or evaluate certain diseases such as:

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Heart Valve Problems
  • High Blood Pressure in the Lungs
  • Congestive Heart Failure/ Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac Amyloidosis
  • Congenital Heart Defects

Before the Procedure:

You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. Discuss your medications with your doctor, as he or she may want you to stop or adjust the doses several days prior to your procedure. Please bring all your current medications in their original bottles with you on the day of your procedure. Please bring a list of all drug/food allergies, past medical and surgical history also with you. We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing and bring a small bag with your personal items and toiletries in the event you spend the night in the hospital to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

What to Expect Upon Arrival to the Hospital

When you arrive for your procedure, you will be asked to change into a gown. Please remove all undergarments and use the restroom as needed. Please let the staff know if you are taking blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel, prasurgel, ticagrelor, rivaroxaban, apixaban and dabigatran etexilate, diuretics (water pills), and/or any form of diabetic medication. An IV will be started so you can receive medications during your procedure and the nurse will review your medical history with you once again. At this time blood work will be drawn if needed and an EKG will be performed.

During the Procedure:

The temperature in our catheterization lab is kept cool to prevent damage to our x-ray equipment that is used during your procedure. We will offer you warmed blankets for your comfort. You will be assisted on to a special table for the procedure and then we will begin attaching monitoring equipment to you.

The cardiac cath lab staff will shave and cleanse your groin and/or wrist while keeping your privacy as our primary concern. A sterile drape will be used to cover the site to prevent infection. It will be important for you to keep your arms and hands down at your sides during the procedure.

You will be given medications to help you relax, also known as twilight sedation, but you may be awake during the procedure so we can ask questions and assess your comfort. A local anesthetic will be given by the physician to numb the procedural site and aid in your comfort. A catheter (long flexible tube) will be advanced to your heart and images will be taken.

Additional procedures may include:

  • Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)
  • Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR)
  • Left Ventricular Pressure and/or Left Ventriculogram

The average cardiac catheterization may take 60 to 90 minutes. If your doctor finds disease in your arteries during the procedure, he/she may proceed with stents and/or balloons. This may take an additional 30 to 60 minutes.

After the Procedure:

If the catheter was inserted into your wrist, an armband will be placed to hold pressure and prevent bleeding. You will be asked to not use your arm for the next several hours. Your arm will be observed for signs of bleeding and/or complications frequently by your nurse. You will be given instructions on how to care for your wrist before you go home.

If the catheter was inserted in the groin, your puncture site may be closed with manual pressure or a closure device (plug/stitch). A sterile dressing will be placed on the groin site to protect you from infection and the site will be observed for signs of bleeding frequently by your nurse for the next several hours. You will be on bedrest for the next 2 to 6 hours where you will be asked to lie flat, keep the affected leg straight, and not to sit up or lift your head to help reduce your risk of bleeding. Should you have increased pain, numbness or tingling to your toes and feet, and a warm sensation like you have wet the bed, please call your nurse immediately.

Procedural Risks:

  • Allergic reactions to the contrast or medication
  • Bleeding
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Damage
  • Infection
  • Bruising at the puncture site
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Blood Clots
  • Damage to the artery wall and where the catheter was inserted
  • Damage to the heart tissue

Follow Up and Discharge Instructions (both wrist and groin access):

  • Keep your dressing clean and dry for 24 hours after the procedure. After 24 hours,you may remove the dressing and shower normally. DO NOT sit in a hot tub, whirlpool, swimming pool, or bathtub for 7 days.
  • Refrain from using Band-Aids, powders, lotions or creams on the puncture site.
  • It is normal at the puncture site to have a small amount of bruising and some tenderness.
  • Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes for the first 3 days following the procedure.
  • Ask your doctor when it is safe to return to work and drive.
  • It is recommended that you increase your clear fluids intake to 8 to 10 glasses per day to assist in removing the contrast from your body unless your doctor advises against it.
  • Ask your doctor when it safe to resume sexual activity.
  • Do not drink alcohol, make any important legal decision, sign any legal documents, drive or operate heavy machinery for the next 24 hours.
  • Do NOT do any strenuous exercise for the next 5 days, you will increase your risk of bleeding at you puncture site (running, stair master, lifting weights, elliptical).
  • It will be important that you continue taking all your medication as directed by yourdoctor. This may include Aspirin and/or medications known as antiplatelet drugs.

Wrist Puncture Site Care

  • Do NOT lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 5 pounds (equal to a gallon of milk)for 3 days.
  • Do not submerge the affected hand in water (i.e. doing the dishes, cleaning, sitting in a bath tub).

Groin Puncture Site Care

  • Limit going up and down stairs to around twice a day for 5 days.
  • Do NOT lift, push, or pull heavy objects (more than 10 pounds) for the first 7 days.
  • If you need to cough, laugh, sneeze, or have a bowel movement, hold pressure onincision site. Do NOT strain or bear down.

Contact Your Doctor If:

  • Fever greater than 101 and/or chills.
  • Redness, swelling, tenderness, and pus-like drainage from the puncture site.
  • You have problems taking or obtaining any of your heart medications.

Smoking Cessation:

Do not smoke or use any form of tobacco products. Tobacco is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your health. Nicotine robs the heart of oxygen and causes constriction of the blood vessels, which will raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Please speak with your doctor about ways you can stop smoking. You can also call the Colorado Quit line for Assistance at 800-784-5463.

Seek Care Immediately/Dial 911 If:

  • Chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Bleeding or swelling from your groin site.
  • New and/or severe lower back pain (different from chronic back pain you may have).
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Your arm and/or leg below the puncture site changes color, becomes numb, or is cool to touch.
  • You have feelings of dizziness, extreme fatigue, or fainting spells.


If you have any further questions before your procedure please call the office and speak with your physician.

Thank You For Choosing Rose Medical Center For Your Cardiac Care!