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What is cardiac catheterization and what are its risks?

What is cardiac catheterization and what are its risks?

A: Cardiac catheterization is also called a heart cath. The procedure itself involves inserting a catheter (a plastic tube usually) into a portion of the heart. Catheterizations are often performed to investigate the patient’s condition to either assess whether surgery is necessary or to prepare for surgery. In addition, once a catheter is in place, several other procedures can be performed such as angioplasty and angiography.

The catheter is inserted into the patient’s artery through a small incision at either the wrist or thigh. A guide wire is then pushed up into the heart before the catheter follows the guide wire. Once in place, several investigative procedures can be performed.

Heart caths are done to confirm suspected heart problems, learn more about the severity of the problem, determine the cause of shortness of breath or other signs of heart problems, and gather information in preparation for heart surgery.

Heart caths carry serious risks including excessive bleeding, heart attack, stroke, damage to the artery at the insertion point, irregular heartbeat, allergic reactions, tearing heart or artery tissue, kidney damage, and blood clots

If you are either pregnant or planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor before having cardiac catheterization performed.

Blood clots are a potentially dangerous complication of hearth caths. Learn more about when blood clots are the result of medical malpractice in this Florida medical malpractice lawyer article.

Other injuries after heart catheterization can also be caused by medical malpractice. They are discussed in this Florida medical malpractice attorney article.


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