Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for a diagnostic procedure?

The actual procedure takes approximately 15-30 minutes; however, the procedure time, prep, and recovery will take approximately 4-6 hours. If an intervention is necessary (angioplasty/stent), your physician may take an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour to your stay time. Please be sure to review your patient guide or call our surgical center for any questions or concerns.

Will I go home after this?

For the most part, your doctor will perform the diagnostic procedure and will allow you to go home and rest. If further intervention is required, you may need to return to the surgical center or to the hospital depending on the severity of your case. Your doctor at the surgical center will need to decide if our outpatient setting is right for you or if there is a need for higher level of care.

Where will the doctor put the catheter for my procedure?

Your doctor will decide whether your groin or arm/wrist is the best option for you upon assessment.

What is a diagnostic exam?

Learning about your upcoming diagnostic angiogram/catheterization procedure can help you be more comfortable with your treatment choice. A diagnostic angiogram/catheterization is a procedure that allows the doctor to visualize your arterial system to look for any blockages or narrowing, the location of them, and by how much percentage. An angiogram/catheterization can help your doctor see if you need a specific treatment, whether it be an angioplasty or stent, atherectomy, surgery, or medical therapy.

How is this procedure performed?

Patients at our surgical center will receive local anesthesia to numb a spot on your groin or arm. After obtaining access to your artery, a small thin tube (catheter) is inserted. You may feel slight pressure as the catheter is placed, but this will hurt no more than a blood test. You will receive moderate sedation, which is medicine that your doctor will order to help you relax and ease the pain.

What do they inject to see my arteries?

A special fluid (contrast dye) is injected into your bloodstream to visualize the arteries on the X-ray. The difference between this exam and other imaging test, is that the angiogram/catheterization provides information of the speed of blood flow and helps visualize smaller blood vessels than other tests do. It is one of the most accurate diagnostic tests available and considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing arterial disease. If you have any allergies to contrast dye, our center will pre-medicate you to prevent any adverse/allergic reaction. Please inform us of any medical/food allergies.

Do I take my medications the day before?

You may be given specific instructions regarding your medications for the day of surgery. It is important to continue taking prescribed medications for hypertension or antiarrhythmics. Because most of our surgical procedures require contrast usage, we instruct our patients to discontinue the use of Metformin 3 days prior and after your procedure. If you are taking insulin, please do not take the day of the procedure. Antidiabetics that could contain Metformin could be named Glucophage, Riomet, Glumetza, and Fortamet. Please be sure to mention if you are taking blood thinners/anticoagulants so we can provide you with appropriate instructions. If you are taking Xarelto, Warfarin, Pradaxa, Prasugrel, or Eliquis, please discontinue usage 3 days prior. If you have any questions regarding your medications, please feel free to call us at (956) 462-5947.

At what time will my surgery be performed?

Surgery times may change for various reasons. Procedures may also be delayed for reasons beyond our control. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

If I have a blockage in my arteries, what are my options?

After a diagnostic procedure is performed, in which the doctor determines a significant blockage is present, there are many options for treatment such as balloon angioplasty, stent placement, atherectomy, medication, lifestyle changes, and possibly surgery. These options will be discussed and arranged with your doctor to decide what is the best option for you and your health.

Do magnets affect pacemakers and implantable defibrillators?

Although electromagnetic fields in the home environment (microwaves/electronic appliances/cellphones) rarely affect the function of implantable cardiac devices, it is recommended to keep any item containing magnets away at least 6 inches from your cardiac device. It is best to avoid keeping your cell phone in your shirt top pocket on the side of the implanted device. Avoid high-voltage radar machines, such as radio or T.V. transmitters, electric arc welders, high-tension wires, radar installations, or smelting furnaces.

Will I be completely asleep for this?

Patients at our surgical center will receive local anesthesia to numb the area where the implanted device will be inserted. You will receive moderate sedation, which is medicine that your doctor will order to help you relax and ease the pain. Our goal is for our patients to have a pleasant, pain-free experience, but we cannot guarantee complete sedation, as this requires the use of general anesthesia, which we do not provide.

How will having a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator affect my appearance?

Implanted cardiac devices are typically very small, about the size of two small silver dollars stacked on top of each other and weigh about an ounce or less.

What if my doctor orders an MRI scan? Is my heart device compatible?

Some implanted heart devices are not considered safe in an MRI environment. It is important that you present your device ID card to the doctor recommending the MRI scan to further discuss all potential benefits and risks.

Can I go through security systems such as those found in airports or courthouses with an implanted cardiac device?

Given the short duration of security screening, it is unlikely that your implanted device will be affected by metal detectors or full-body imaging scanners. The metal case of your heart device could set off a metal detector. If you have concerns about these security screening methods, show your device ID card, request alternative screening, and follow instructions given to you by security personnel.

When can I resume normal/routine activities or work?

Most patients are able to return to routine/work activities after device implant. The surgical center staff and your doctor will provide you with more guidance regarding what limitations to take depending on your procedure.

Can I drive to the appointment?

Because you will be receiving local anesthesia/moderate sedation, you will NOT be allowed to drive the day of surgery. Please let us know during your pre-operative call if driving arrangements need to be made for after discharge. We recommend a responsible adult companion stay with you for the remainder of the day and night following your surgery.

Can my family members accompany me to the procedure?

We ask that only 1 responsible adult accompanies you to the surgical center, as we only allow one visitor per patient. We do not allow visitors under 18 years of age in our facility. We recommend a responsible adult companion stay with you for the remainder of the day and night following your surgery.

Will I get a phone call or follow-up appointment?

Follow-up care is the key part of your treatment and safety. The surgical center staff will provide you with your next follow up appointment prior to your discharge. A post-operative call will also be done within 2-4 days after your visit to help track your healing process, complications, and overall visit satisfaction. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions, as it is our goal to provide a pleasant experience for all of our patients and visitors.