You will be given special instructions ahead of time about eating, drinking and any medications you may be taking. Most people will probably be able to have the radial artery approach (in the arm), but a few may need the more traditional groin area procedure. Your doctor will decide which one is best for you.
You will be given medicine to help you relax, and numbing medication in the area where a long thin flexible tube (catheter) will be placed. The catheter will be inserted into the artery. X-ray images will help in gently and carefully moving the catheter through the artery and into the heart. Then the doctor will be able to perform tests such as coronary angiography, coronary arteriography or electrophysiologic studies (EPS).
Cardiac catheterization takes about one hour. If the catheter was inserted into an artery in the groin, you will be asked to lie quietly for a few hours. If the procedure used the radial artery in your arm, the recovery period will be much shorter. Most people return to their normal activities in one or two days.
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