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In this lesson we will learn about arterial catheterization. We will look at how it can be used for diagnostic purposes as well as how it is used for interventional purposes.

History of Heart Disease

Bob is a 55-year-old man with a long family history of heart disease. His father died of a heart attack at age 60 and Bob wanted to avoid the same fate. He visits his physician for regular check-ups and at his most recent visit, his doctor recommended he start seeing a cardiologist.At Bob’s first visit with Dr.

Jones, he recommended him having a stress test. This is a test done on a treadmill to monitor Bob’s heart with activity. Bob experienced fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain with the stress test. Dr. Jones recommended another test to evaluate Bob’s heart condition.

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What Is Arterial Catheterization?

Arterial catheterization is a procedure of placing a very narrow, hollow tube called a catheter into an artery. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen to all the cells of the body. Every part of our body has to have oxygen to live so it is vital that the arteries are able to carry the necessary blood and oxygen to them.


This is an arterial catheter.
catheter


When Bob was experiencing chest pain with activity, it was caused by the coronary arteries having some type of blockage.

The coronary arteries carry blood to the heart muscle. When the heart muscle starts working faster, it needs more oxygen to feed it. But if there is a blockage, not enough oxygen is reaching the heart muscle which results in the pain.Dr. Jones explains to Bob that arterial or cardiac catheterization is a test to evaluate his heart’s function and identify any blockages in his arteries. Bob will be awake during the procedure but he will be given medication through an IV to help him relax.

He will be connected to a monitor to closely watch his vital signs during the procedure.During the procedure, Dr. Jones will use a needle to puncture the femoral artery in Bob’s upper leg/groin area. He will then advance the catheter up his artery until it reaches his heart. A monitor will be in the room that Dr. Jones can watch as the catheter is moved through Bob’s artery.


The femoral artery is the common artery used for cardiac catheterization.
arterial system


Diagnostic Use

Bob asks Dr.

Jones what the purpose of this test is for. Dr. Jones explains that a cardiac catheterization is a procedure that can be done for diagnostic purposes or to identify any problems. It is most commonly indicated to evaluate chest pain.

This could be for someone like Bob whose stress test suggested heart disease. Or it could be used for someone that recently had a heart attack and the doctor needs to evaluate the damage. There are other heart issues that a cardiac catheterization would be indicated as well.

Using the catheter to access the heart, it can allow the physician to diagnose any problems. A coronary angiography can be done with dye. This allows visualization of blood flow through the coronary arteries and would indicate any blockages.

The catheter can also measure blood pressure and oxygen levels in the arteries and even in the chambers of the heart. The doctor can even take a small sample of heart tissue for a biopsy if indicated. A cardiac catheterization provides important information for diagnosing heart problems.

Interventional Use

While Dr. Jones is performing Bob’s cardiac catheterization, he notices that he has a significant blockage in one of his coronary arteries. This would explain the chest pain he was experiencing with activity.Luckily, a cardiac catheterization can also be used for interventional purposes as well.

Dr. Jones inflates a small balloon at the tip of the catheter at the site of the blockage. This pushes the plaque in the artery back into the vessel wall allowing the vessel to be opened up for better blood flow.

He then places a stent, which is a small, hollow mesh that will help to keep the blood vessel open. This procedure is called angioplasty.Other interventions can be completed during cardiac catheterization as well. A valvuloplasty widens the opening of heart valve if it is narrowed.

Even minor heart surgery for defects can be completed during a cardiac catheterization.

Nursing Management

Bob tolerates the procedure well and blood flow is restored to his heart. The doctor removes the catheter and the nurse applies very firm pressure to Bob’s puncture site for several minutes. Since the artery was accessed, it takes great pressure to prevent bleeding. If Bob were to start bleeding, the pulsing of the artery could result in hemorrhaging. The nurse then places a dressing on the site.Bob has to lie flat with his leg straight during his recovery.

The nurse will monitor the site for bruising or bleeding and will monitor his vital signs. After he is fully recovered and stable, Bob will be discharged home.

Lesson Summary

The coronary arteries carry oxygen to your heart muscle and if there is a blockage, it will result in chest pain. Arterial catheterization is most commonly done for symptoms of chest pain.

Arterial catheterization or cardiac catheterization is an invasive procedure to evaluate the heart. It can be a diagnostic procedure by evaluating the heart structure, function, and blood flow. It can measure blood pressure and oxygen in the arteries and heart. Coronary angiography uses dye to allow visualization of blood flow and identifying any blockages.It can also be used for interventional purposes including angioplasty or valvuloplasty .

The physician can even do minor heart surgery for heart defects.The patient remains awake but sedated through the procedure and must lie flat with their leg straight after the procedure. The nurse will apply firm pressure to the puncture site and will monitor the site for any bleeding. Vitals will be monitored until the patient is stable and then they will return home.Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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