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Right Heart Catheterization experiences


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#1 kiwimum03

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:12 AM

Hi,

when I was last in the hospital two weeks ago they were thinking of ordering a Right heart Catheterization.
Now I have been called up to see the Cardiologist as an outpaitent in 2 weeks time, and I am pretty sure they are going to bring the subject up again, wanting me to have this done.

I know I am probably being silly, but it sounds really scary to me. My father had it done years ago and his catheter snapped during the prodcedure. Now I know he had severe blocked arteries, and that was the cause for the catheter to break, but I am a little freaked out about something going in my body to my heart.
I know the doctors do this procedure all the time, so it must be safe.

I am just wondering from those of you who have had this done, how you found it and how it felt?
I know everyones experiences are different.
I just tend to worry alot about things, even if I don't know if I need to !

thanks!

#2 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:35 AM

Hi Kiwimum,

I was absolutely scared witless before I had mine done and it turned out not to be too bad after all. All I felt was a bit of a pinch and then a little coldness when they first inserted the catheter. After that the main problem I had was with the Raynaud's! The catheter lab was kept extremely cold for all the machinery. I had a call from the specialist by the end of the day with the results and treatment recommendations.

I think it is worth having. For one, it gives you and your doctors an accurate, direct measurement of the pulmonary artery pressure. That's helpful in deciding whether or not you have any degree of pulmonary hypertension and a good solid baseline to judge echocardiograms against. My echos before the RH catheterization were pretty scary, but the RHC showed a much more mild degree of PH. That was sure a relief!

I hope if the doctors want you to have the procedure you find it as straightforward as I did and get reassuring results.

Best wishes,
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#3 miocean

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:44 AM

Hi Kiwimum,
I've had two heart catheterizations. The first was a left heart catheterization. I was so scared! And there was really nothing to it. Last year I had a right and left heart catheterization and again it was nothing to worry about. Needles and I don't go together so I was really afraid of the IV but the nurses were good at getting my vein. You are awake during the procedure, under light sedation, and the only thing I felt was the sting of the needle for the local. The first time they did it he closed me up with a collagen plug, I had to lay flat for a while and then they took me to dialysis so the worst part about it was it was a very long day. The second time I had it done he closed me with a piece of metal called a star clasp. My procedure was late in the day so I had to stay in the hospital overnight and get dialysis the next morning. I think you have to drink a lot of water after to get the dye out of your system, but since I couldn't have fluids I had to have dialysis. Find out how they are going to close you and how long you will have to lay flat after the procedure.

Don't worry, it is not worth the panic. I had a small bandage on and didn't even get a black and blue spot. Good luck and I hope your test comes out clear.

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#4 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:22 AM

Hello Kiwimum

I had a right and left heart catheterisation about 2 weeks ago and wouldn't bat an eye at having it done again. The worst bit was the waiting around and having a catheter in my bladder. My poor little bladder likes to be emptied frequently and I knew that I would be unable to get up for at least 3 hours after the procedure and unfortunately said bladder won't empty into a bed pan hence having a catheter.

I waited 2 hours for a bed, had the procedure which took about 20 to 30 minutes then came back to the ward to lie flat for 1 1/2 hours and then was able to sit up but not move for another 1 1/2 hours then I was free to go. Whilst they're doing the procedure you can see your heart on screen but it's actually quite boring!

There's always a risk with any procedure but for me the gain, finding out exactly what's wrong with my heart, far outweighed any potential risk.

Oh yes, you have to well um shave your groin area on the day unless you take care of it another way beforehand which is what I did. When the nurse presented me with a small razor I was so glad that I didn't have to risk giving it a go with my sclerodactyly hands!

Take care and let us know how you get on.
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#5 judyt

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:26 AM

Hi Kiwi Mum
Now this is something I do know about. On 5 May I was booked into Auckland City Hospital Cardiac Investigation Unit (!!!) for an Endoscopic Ultrasound, where they look at your heart from the Eosophagus - that was tedious but not a problem except for the sore throat afterwards. The next day I had a balloon valvuloplasty and right heart investigation. As Amanda said it was a piece of cake, boring more than anything. That said I am very interested in all this technical stuff and I did find it fascinating - the best part was to be told that I have squeaky clean coronary vessels. Are you going to Tauranga? or will they send you to Waikato or Auckland?

I know you are a busy Mum and I am a busy Granma but I took advantage of the opportunity to have a good rest, and was determined not to let anything worry me - just go with the flow.

The worst part - and it is not at all that bad, is having to lie flat for 4 hours afterwards. In ACH they have a natty little piece of apparatus which fits snugly into your groin and keeps the pressure on and in fact I would presume that is the case everywhere. The staff were fabulous and kept me fed while I was lying flat, because by then I was VERY hungry and thirsty. Because I had more than one procedure at the same time I was in theatre much longer that usual.

I had an excellent Cardiologist, I was referred on and on from one to another earlier in the year before the decision was made to send me to Arthur Coverdale from Auckland Heart Group. They say he is the man to see. We have Southern Cross Insurance so I was able to see him privately but then he sent me to the public system because that is where he prefers to do these things.

If you would like a personal conversation just let me know.

Good luck, be brave and lots of hugs from this part of the country.

JudyT

#6 susieq40

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:49 AM

I had the right heart cath back in Oct 09. It wasn't bad. I was scared stiff though, them putting something in the vein in your neck down to your heart. With mine, they took me to what looks like an operating room, drape you, and have you put your head to the left. They numb the area, which was the worst part. I didn't feel the cath go in until I felt a little flutter in my heart. It was no big deal, because after that they made me sit up and ride a bike for 10-15 minutes to test the pressures in my heart. Since I have Interstitial Lung Disease, anyway, afterwards, I layed back down, the nurse took me out of the room, like to a recovery area, she took out the cath, and I laid there not too long, and then went home. So anyway, I hope that doesn't scare you, but It was only uncomfortable while I rode the bike. I'd do it again if I needed to.

Susieq :VeryHappy:

#7 kiwimum03

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 11:56 PM

I just wanted to thank everyone VERY much for sharing their experiences with me. It has helped calm my nerves about this subject and now I feel if the Cardiologist does press me to have the procedure done then I will be "ok" with it.

You were all very honest and descriptive which is what I needed! You told me the "in's and out's" of the procedure, which was really good to know. I am a step by step kind of girl, and need to know everything!

Amanda...........thank you for being very descriptive about the shaving....LOL...something I hadn't thought about, until now, but good to have a heads up on that subject :)

Judy, I am in Auckland, so I presume that is where it would be done. I don't see my Cardiologist until June 17, which is when they want to review my file and see if they need to do this test.
They talked about it 6 months ago, and again when I was in the hospital 2 weeks ago, they were all for going ahead with it, so we will see. I just want to be mentally prepared, as I freaked out when they talked about it the first time.

Thanks again everyone, I appreciate you all!
Hugs

#8 judyt

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 09:10 AM

Hi Kiwimum,

Now where did I get the idea you were in Tauranga??

Never mind, I must just be getting old!!!. ACH is the best place for Cardiac Procedures these days. My experience there last month was great. The new hospital is so lovely and roomy with such lovely views over the city.

Look forward to hearing that it has all gone well.

JudyT

#9 CraigR

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 10:25 AM

I've had right heart catheterization 3 times (for PH). The first was not to long after chemo for lymphoma, which included a stem cell transplant. Needless to say, by then I was rather numb to all the procedures. Do what you will....

The worst part is the numbing with lidocaine at the start (as with any such procedure, there is a bit of a sting until the numbing effect takes place). The rest was very simple and easy. In fact, at one point I was so preoccupied carrying on a discussion with a nurse and the doctor told me stop talking or the test wouldn't come out right.

Definitely not something to worry about (though I would want to be sure that the doctor/medical center has a lot of experience with the procedure).

Craig

#10 miocean

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 10:56 AM

Kiwimum,
I am glad you are feeling more comfortable with the procedure. One thing I forgot to mention was to ask what will be done if they find a blockage. Will they put a stent in? There are two kinds of stents, one is coated with a medicine and the other is not. Do an internet search on "stents" and read a little about it. Since I was getting close to a kidney transplant I could not have a coated stent because you can't have surgery for a certain time afterward with one.

Jeannie,
I, too, was diagnosed with mild PH. Did your dr. put you on any meds for it? I am getting mixed messages from my doctors.

miocean
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#11 kiwimum03

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 12:01 AM

Thanks Craig and Miocean for your replies and advice,

It's good for me to have an idea of what to ask the doctors. Now I feel am fully prepared :)

Judy, you make Auckland Cardiac unit sounds quite pleasant :) ......and it's only 25mins away from where I live, so thats a bonus!
I'll let you know what happens after I see the specialist.


Hugs to everyone!

#12 kiwimum03

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:40 PM

Hi All,

just a little update, I saw the Cardiolgist on Thursday and after all my worry, they do NOT want to do the right heart catheter right now. They are going to do another Echocardiogram first and then decide.

As I have no shortness of breath they didn't really want to do an invasive test. But the Cardiologist did say they would keep a good eye on me, as sometimes by the time the Pulmonary Hypertension is producing symptoms it has been there for a while, and he would like to catch it early if it is going to present itself. Smart man.

thanks again for all your help and advice on this subject.

Hugs,

#13 janey

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 07:10 AM

Kiwi,
Thanks for the update. It sounds like your doctors are taking care of you and staying on top of things. I appreciate any doctor that wants to avoid doing an invasive test! Just stay aware of how you feel and let your doctors know. Looks like you're in good hands.
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#14 judyt

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:46 AM

Hi kiwimum,
I must have known you were going to post today!! I went to bed last night wondering how you are getting on, and woke up this morning to read your latest note.

Isn't it great how good news like that can settle you right down. I have almost forgotten how worried I was 9 months ago when I was told I had PH. I see my Cardio again in 10 days time for a follow up on my catheter procedure, and right now I feel invincible!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you do too!

Warm hugs on a cold and wintery day.
Judy T