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It has been established by medical experts that there are no serious risks associated to cardiac catheterization and it is a relatively safe and common medical procedure. Still, since no medical condition is completely devoid of any risks, it is important to consider even the minor risks associated to cardiac catheterization seriously so that any chances of illness after the treatment process can be handled carefully and with more sensitivity. The health of the patient, must not, in any condition be challenged. Let us know more about this process in the paragraphs mentioned further.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac Catheterization is a useful tool for diagnosing heart disease, especially the problems of coronary blood vessels. Catheters are also used for a heart blockage test and during the process of an angioplasty. In cardiac catheterization process, a catheter, which is a thin, flexible and hollow tube, is inserted into a blood vessel to reach the heart. These blood vessels may either be the femoral artery in the groin area or the radial artery near the wrist. After that, a dye (iodine based, that is opaque to x-rays) is injected into the blood stream. X-ray fluoroscopy images are then taken and the vessels are seen distinctly due to the dye.

An Overview of The Downsides

There are some rare side effects of cardiac catheterization but if proper patient care is given after treatment, some of them may aggravate in further stages and cause problems. Let's check out some of the potential dangers of cardiac catheterization.

Complications
Mentioned below are some of the risks of cardiac catheterization.
  • Many people may find it painful or difficulty in urinating after the procedure.
  • Bruises are common at the spot where catheter was inserted. They're not a big problem as they go away within few days.
  • Bleeding is the most common risk.
  • Pain accompanied by swelling at the place where catheter was inserted.
  • Damage of the kidneys is one of the risks of this procedure.
  • Infection in the heart lining leading to inflammation.
  • Allergic reaction causing hives, itching. In rarest cases, it may lead to hive and fever.
  • Irregular heart beats (Arrhythmias) is also one of the risks of this medical procedure.
Risk Factors
Cardiac catheterization is generally a safe procedure if performed by a group of experienced medical experts. Since it is an invasive procedure, there exists possibilities of minor complications. Patients must be careful, NOT to go for this medical procedure if they're suffering from various medical conditions. Let's know who should not go for cardiac catheterization.
  • Individuals with any type of bleeding disorders must not go for this process.
  • During medical care process, if the patient is given anticoagulation medication, like coumadin (warfarin sodium), he should not go for catheterization. It triggers risk of bleeding and can hinder blood clotting after catheterization.
  • People with kidney diseases especially those who're diabetes patients must avoid cardiac catheterization.
  • People with problems of high blood pressure.
  • People suffering from diseases of the arteries.
  • Those who suffer from anemia.
  • People being treated with cases of active infections.
  • Cases of electrolytic imbalances that are still in treatment phase.
  • Any medical disease that may affect recovery of the patient.
  • Infection of heart's lining or any prevailing infection in the heart.
  • In rarest of the rare cases, a heart stroke can be triggered due to blood clots.
  • Accumulation of fluid in the sac that surrounds the heart.
As we can see, these are various risks associated with cardiac catheterization however, it has to be kept in mind that cardiac catheterization is one of the safest heart medical procedures with least number of risks. Fatal cases have hardly been reported due to cardiac catheterization. Patients of kidney diseases, older people (75 or above) and women are generally at a higher risk of cardiac catheterization complications. For an experienced medical team, cardiac catheterization is a simple medical procedure. Patients must consult a medical expert for any information on risks of cardiac catheterization.