Many cardiologists suggest performing tests like echocardiograms to diagnose and analyze pulmonary pressure or hypertension in a patient’s body. But the only accurate result generator is the right heart catheterization to measure pulmonary hypertension in the arterial junction. Right heart catheterization is performed by monitoring the pulmonary function of the patient and measuring the pulmonary pressure and helping them to treat the disease profoundly.
What is RHC – Right Heart Catheterization?
RHC – Right heart Catheterization is performed by a cardiologist or pulmonologist as an outpatient surgery in a hospital’s cath lab. If you already are taking any medicine or prescribed with the treatment, then make sure to inform before a cardiologist takes you for the procedure.
This is because there must be some prerequisite requirements before the RHC. This includes (but is not limited to) not eating for several hours before taking the procedure. In addition, certain medications should not be taken before RHC.
However, not only RHC but you must be asking about everything from your physician before surgery or treatment. Make sure to have a full understanding of benefits and risks prior to any procedure.
On the suggested day and date of the procedure, when you are prepared for the right heart catheterization, a nurse will examine you by checking your heartbeat, and blood pressure and prepare for the IV to inject. She will also have a look at your medical history and find out about allergies and review the medication that you already are taking. Once she’s finished with the analysis, she will prepare appropriate procedure settings and gather all the required equipment and medication that the patient might need during the procedure. The patient will then be moved to the cath lab.
The patient is kept awake during the whole procedure but under a certain medication that enables the patient to remain calm and comfortable. The right heart catheterization can be stressful for some patients while it is not painful at all. The procedure starts with cleaning the neck or groin skin surface and inserting a thin catheter in the vein where the area is numbed using medication before punching in the catheter.
A specified amount of the medication is used to numb the groin or neck vein area before the procedure starts. Once the catheter penetrates, it is transported to the heart through the cardiac veins. The catheter is designed to maintain the pressure exerted from the chambers of the heart and the pulmonary artery area. With this, the physician would be able to figure out how much oxygen is there in your blood and what is your cardiac output (the ratio of pumping out the blood).
The RHC procedure takes a maximum of one and a half hours to complete. Once the procedure is finished, the catheter is removed and the results are kept out. Nothing is left in the body in order to follow a routine RHC treatment, the catheter is taken out, and based on the results, the patient will be prescribed the medication and released. On the other hand, if the patient has severe pulmonary hypertension and the results are unusual, the physicians may want them to get admitted for proper treatment.
Otherwise, the patient would be taken back to the Cath lab again to wait and wear off the procedure effects or for given sedates. After discharge, the patient should take it easy and check with the physician if there’s anything that is disturbing.
How to care for yourself after RHC treatment?
If you have been given sedatives by your physician, it is recommended by the experts not to do anything that requires your attention, at least for 24 hours. This activity can include writing documents, signing legal papers, going to work, etc. If you were already on certain medication, your body may take a longer time to completely wear off the sedate effects.
In addition, you should not perform any mechanical work which involves hard work or attention as it may result in dangerous outcomes. Let your body rest enough and give it a complete time to wear off.
Furthermore, do not lift heavy things, do not drive, and do not involve your body in work that demands extra energy. A catheter penetrates through your vein to the heart, it will take some time to heal. Give your body enough time to be in the position again to feel comfortable working.
Ask your doctor to resume your medication
Your doctor or physician will inform you about your diet and medication once your procedure is completed. Also, ask your doctor when you can resume the medication you were already prescribed with. If you think you are having a problem walking or breathing even after days of your procedure, visit or call the doctor to have prompt action for your suffering.