Cardiac catheterization (or cardiac cath) is a common procedure performed to detect blockages in coronary arteries. In the past, a cardiac cath required a patient to spend hours in bed or even an overnight hospital stay, but that’s no longer the case.
Quincy Medical Group (QMG) Cardiologists Dr. Wissam Derian and Dr. Adam Rafi said the procedure has evolved and, in most cases, patients can now go home the same day. Both physicians will perform cardiac caths for patients at the new QMG Surgery Center in Quincy.
“Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that’s been done for many years. The technology has improved and has become very safe to do as an outpatient procedure,” Dr. Derian explained.
Having the procedure performed at an Ambulatory Surgery Center is a new concept locally, but not new to the field of cardiology.
“The safety of the Ambulatory Surgery Center has been well-established, not just in the United States, but throughout the world,” said Dr. Rafi. “There have been many research studies done in regard to the safety of doing procedures, such as cardiac cath and elective stenting in an outpatient setting. Those studies have shown there is no clinical significance between doing it in a hospital setting versus in Ambulatory Surgery Center setting.”
For a cardiac cath, a thin flexible tube is inserted into the arteries of the patient’s heart, and dye is injected to see if there are any blockages. Dr. Derian said traditionally, the procedure is performed from the large artery in the leg, however, over the last several years doctors have started utilizing the radial artery in the wrist.
“In about 90% of the cases, we have begun using access in the wrist instead of the groin area. This reduces the risk of complications and the length of stay for the patient,” Dr. Derian said. “So basically for a diagnostic heart cardiac catheterization, patients can be home after a maximum of two hours without lying flat or any worry about major complications.”
This change has many advantages. The biggest being the increased safety for the patient, Dr. Rafi said. The procedure is now commonly done in an outpatient setting at Ambulatory Surgery Centers, such as the QMG Surgery Center.
“Cardiac cath has been done in outpatient centers for some time,” he reiterated. “The risks in terms of the procedure are the same, whether performed in a hospital setting or surgical center setting, and those risks are relatively low.”
For more information on the QMG Cardiology team and services, visit quincymedgroup.com/heart.