Nope. I've had two.
There are a number of catheterization procedures. They involve a flexible plastic tube (the catheter) inserted into your femoral artery
(in the leg). One is an angiogram, where an x-ray fluorescent dye is injected into your system and your heart pumping function is monitored. Another is an angioplasty
, where a balloon on the end of the tip inflates to push aside blockages and improve blood flow through the arteries.
You are awake for these procedures, and can converse with the cardiologist. If you are having an angioplasty, you may feel a brief "oomph" as the balloon inflates and deflates in a fraction of a second.
I had my first with a heart attack
in December of 99. I was cracking jokes with the cardiologist about Christmas shopping and what a strange day that was (shopping in the afternoon, in the hospital that night). My first stent
was put in. My second was in March of 2000, to insert my second (and hopefully last) stent.
You get a little dose of Valium
via IV to relax you, and a local anaesthetic
on the thigh to deaden the puncture prick.
The worst part comes a day or two after the procedure. The insertion point is not sewn up, but rather taped with three 18" pieces of surgical tape
. If you can, remove them in the shower with soapy water when the doctor allows it. My first time, the cardiologist said, "Let's have a look." I thought he was going to look at the tape. Nope, he pulled them off and I nearly hit the ceiling tiles in surprise!
The procedure has a near perfect success rate. If you're a geek like me, you can actually watch the fluoroscope and see the tube going up your artery. You don't feel that at all.
You'll be home in two days, maybe less, but it is doubtful you'll be home that day.
Oh, one thing... you'll be asked NOT to move the leg with the puncture in it for about four or five hours after the procedure ends. This is to prevent clots from forming. It is a minor inconvenience.
Here's some info: