During a heart catheterization procedure, doctors prescribe a mild sedative relax the patient, along with a local anesthetic to numb the site, according to Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, a medical professional injects contrast material into the heart and gives intravenous fluids as needed.
To prepare for a heart catheterization procedure, the patient should discuss medication use with the physician, as some medications, including aspirin, diabetes medications and anticoagulants, may need to be stopped or adjusted, states Cleveland Clinic. The day of the procedure, a nurse starts an intravenous or IV line in order to administer medications and fluids. It is necessary to clean the catheter site and use sterile drapes to prevent infection. Electrodes placed on the chest area monitor the heart rate of the patient.
Although the patient receives a sedative during the procedure, he remains awake and can feel pressure as the catheter is put in place, explains Cleveland Clinic. However, the patient should not feel any pain during this process. The contrast material injected into the heart may cause a warm or flushed feeling, which is normal. Typically, this feeling dissipates in a few seconds. In some cases, nausea, chest discomfort or an allergic reaction to contrast can occur.