Hospital Procedures

Hospital Procedures for Your Heart

Improving your heart’s health is Dr. Drake and Coastal Heart Institute’s number one priority. In-office diagnostic testing will help Dr. Drake determine treatment plans including any procedures that may be necessary. Dr. Drake uses his years of experience combined with the latest technology to offer surgical and non-invasive procedures to improve your heart’s health.

Cardiac Catheterization

If you are experiencing chest pain, Dr. Drake may recommend a cardiac catheterization. Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your upper thigh, neck or arm and threaded through the blood vessel to your heart. The catheter helps determine any heart disease or blockages in your arteries.

Talk to the doctor about any medications you are taking or any chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, that you have. You will be awake during this procedure, but a numbing medication will be used at the incision site so you should not feel the catheter being eased through your blood vessel. You may feel some pressure. If you feel significant discomfort or pain, you should tell the doctor immediately.

During the procedure, the doctor will have visual help of a special monitor so he can place the catheter precisely in the spot that needs further treatment. If a blockage is discovered, the doctor may fix it with a balloon or stent. A stent is a tube used to support weak or narrow arteries, improve blood flow and open a blocked vessel. You may feel some pain when a stent is inflated.

Cardiac catheterization requires several hours for recovery and often requires an overnight stay. You may be sore for several days after the procedure, and Dr. Drake will advise you on when you can return to normal activity and work.

Cardioversion

Cardioversion is a medical procedure by which an abnormally fast or irregular heart beat is converted to a normal heart rate using electricity or drugs. The doctor may give you one or more medicines to regulate your heart beat, or he may recommend electrical cardioversion. During electrical cardioversion, the doctor will deliver an electrical shock through two paddles, which may be placed both on your chest or one on your chest and one on your back. The shock lasts less than a second. You may receive one shock or more, depending on when your heart beat becomes regular.

You should not eat or drink for at least eight hours before your cardioversion, and talk to the doctor about any medications you are on. It’s also advised not to put any lotions, powders or perfumes on your chest and back for 24 hours before the procedure to ensure the paddles deliver electricity to your heart. You will be administered medicine before the cardioversion that will make you sleep and therefore you should not feel any pain. Patients typically wake up quickly and most don’t remember the shock(s). The procedure takes about 30 minutes. Dr. Drake will instruct you on when you can return to normal activity. 

Pacemaker implants

A pacemaker is a small device that is placed in the chest to help treat arrhythmias, which occur when your heart beats too fast, too slow or erratically. The device uses low-energy electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.

You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the day of your procedure, and you should talk to the doctor about any medications you are taking. During the procedure, you will be awake but the doctor will inject a numbing medicine to your chest so that you will not feel any pain. You may feel a pulling sensation as the pacemaker is attached and adjusted. If you feel significant discomfort or pain, you should tell the doctor immediately. You will be connected to monitors that will record your blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as a monitor for the doctor to use as a visual guide as he puts your pacemaker in place.

Following the procedure, you may be allowed to leave or the doctor may request you stay overnight.  Further instructions will be provided regarding returning to work, lifting and exercise, as well as electrical devices to avoid, ensuring your pacemaker stays in working order.