What is it? This procedure is performed for patients who have been diagnosed with an irregular heart beat (cardiac arrhythmia). It will help determine the location of the arrhythmia and the best method to treat it.
What happens during the procedure? This procedure may require a brief hospital stay. An IV will be started to administer fluids and medication that will ensure your comfort and relaxation during the procedure, but not put you to sleep. Your groin will be shaved and cleansed. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area where the catheter is inserted. The cardiologist will insert several catheters or small flexible tubes into the vein in your groin and advance them, using X-ray guidance, to your heart. The catheters sense your heart’s electrical activity and evaluate its conduction system. A pacemaker-type device is used to send electrical impulses through the catheter to increase the heart rate. You will be asked to describe any symptoms you feel. The cardiologist will observe for any arrhythmias that occur during this elevated heart rate. The cardiologist may also take this opportunity to administer medication and its effectiveness in treating the irregular heart rhythm. At the end of the test, which takes 1 – 4 hours, the catheters will be removed and pressure will be applied to prevent bleeding. To prevent bleeding at the catheter site you will be required to rest in bed for several hours and monitored to ensure your heart is in a stable rhythm.
How to prepare for the Procedure:
- DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. No caffeine products 12 hours prior to the procedure.
- Take your normal medications as instructed by your physician, and take your morning medications with a sip of water.
- Make sure your physician is aware if you are taking Coumadin/warfarin or diabetic medications prior to the procedure.
- Please be aware that an overnight stay in the hospital may be required.
- Following your procedure you will not be able to drive home and should make arrangements to be driven by a friend or family member. Additionally, you will have driving restrictions for several days after the procedure.