Text Size

Cardiac catheterization is used to see inside of your heart and perform various procedures to diagnose or treat coronary artery disease. The regional cardiac care centre has three labs for performing cardiac catheterizations.


Your cardiologist will discuss the procedure and possible risks and benefits with you, and will have you sign a consent form. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask the doctor before signing the consent. You will require blood tests and an electro-cardiogram before coming to the hospital for the angiogram.

The night before your procedure:

  • Remove makeup, nail polish and jewelry
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Pack a robe, slippers and personal care items
  • Pack a light snack for after the procedure

The morning of your procedure:

  • Have a light breakfast of juice and toast before coming to the hospital
  • Do not take Glucophage or Metformin (and you should not restart taking for 48 hours after the procedure)
  • Do take all other morning medications as usual
  • Please bring all your medications with you to the hospital
  • If you take Coumadin (Warfarin), please confirm with your doctor when to stop taking it
  • Please leave any valuable items at home (we are not responsible for lost or stolen items)
  • Ensure you have someone who can drive you home after your test. Due to space restrictions, we ask that only one person accompany you to this procedure

Please arrive at the hospital 15 minutes before your booking time, and go directly to Admitting on the main floor (level 2) where you will be registered. You will also receive instructions on how and when to go the cardiac short-stay unit for your procedure.

You can expect to be at the hospital all day. Your actual procedure will take up to 45 minutes and then you will have to stay lying down for three to four hours.

Before you go for the cardiac catheterization procedure, a nurse will request that you empty your bladder, remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown.

You may wear your glasses, hearing aid and/or dentures throughout the test. Then you will be given a light sedative to help you relax.

You will lie on an x-ray table and be monitored by the cardiologist and nurses throughout the procedure. The area on your body where the catheter tube will be inserted (either your groin or your forearm) will be washed with a pink antiseptic. Sterile blue sheets will cover the rest of your boday.

The cardiologist will give local anesthetic under the skin, and then the catheterization procedure will begin. Ordinarily, it isn't uncomfortable. You may feel a brief warmth, heat or a burning sensation. If you experience chest pain or other unusual sensations, report this to the cardiologist.

The camera will rotate around you during the test. It may get close to you, but will not touch you.

When your cardiac catheterization has been completed, you will return to the cardiac short-stay unit. The catheter will be removed and a clamp will be applied to the puncture site for 30 to 45 minutes.  You will be asked to rest quietly and to avoid bending the leg.

You will be required to remain on bed rest for three hours, so you may have to make use of a bed-pan or urinal. It is important to drink plenty of fluids during your stay with us. You may eat lightly after the procedure. Most patients are discharged after four hours.

You doctor will discuss the results of the cardiac catheterization and further plans regarding your medical care during your stay with us.

Remember, since you cannot legally drive a car for 24 hours after the test, you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital.

When you are home, do not take Glucophage or Metformin for 48 hours, unless you have been advised differently by your doctor.

Moderate soreness, swelling or bruising is normal. If you have worsening symptoms please go to your local emergency department.

View video