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Cardiac Catheterization FAQ For Phoenix Valley-Area Patients

Author: Sina Nafisi, M.D., FACC

As an interventional cardiologist, cardiac catheterization is a procedure I perform frequently with Phoenix Heart Center throughout the Valley area. Cardiac catheterization is a technique that can be used for both diagnostic and treatment purposes. In many situations, this interventional technique is able to provide a solution to a problem that would have required surgery in years past.

How does the procedure work?

Cardiac catheterization is an interventional procedure in which a thin, flexible tube (a catheter) is inserted into an artery in the patient. The artery may be in the neck, groin, or arm. Where the catheter is inserted may depend on what part of the body is being treated and the physician’s preference. Once inserted, the catheter is guided to the treatment area, using fluoroscopy (a kind of real-time x-ray). Small tools may be inserted through the catheter in order to perform the procedure.

What is cardiac catheterization used for?

Cardiac catheterization may be used to:

  • Clear a blockage in an artery (balloon angioplasty and stent placement).
  • View blood flow and/or detect a blockage (coronary angiography).
  • Repair a damaged valve (valvuloplasty).
  • Repair a heart defect.
  • Diagnose a heart arrhythmia.
  • Or provide other diagnostic/treatment services.

Does a cardiac catheterization procedure hurt?

Patients are usually awake during these procedures, though sedated to minimize anxiety and discomfort. You will be given an anesthetic (in the form of a shot) prior to the insertion of the catheter. While this may cause some pain, you should not feel the actual catheter. Many patients go home the same day.

Does the procedure take place in a hospital?

My colleagues and I perform cardiac catheterization in Phoenix at St. Luke’s Medical Center. The advanced “cath lab” at St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first in Arizona; it features up-to-date technology, which helps ensure procedures are safe and accurate.

Schedule a Valley-Area Cardiac Catheterization

Perhaps your physician has told you that you need to see a cardiologist. Maybe you’re looking for a doctor to perform your cardiac catheterization in Phoenix. Cardiologists at Phoenix Heart Center are here for you. Contact us to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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