Day of Your Procedure
When you have treatment at the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, we take steps to make sure you’re safe and comfortable during your entire time with us. Your safety is our priority; we strive to do everything we can to ensure the best possible outcomes for your long-term health.
When we call you to schedule your heart procedure, our scheduling coordinator will discuss with you what to do on the day you come in. We’re here to answer your questions at any time before or after your procedure.
Planning for your heart procedure
We schedule your heart procedure as soon as possible after you have visited our heart team for an evaluation. For many heart procedures, this evaluation includes a meeting of our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, heart imaging specialists and cardiac nurses. A team member will call you to schedule the procedure and explain to you:
- What to do to prepare
- Where to go on the day of your appointment
- What to expect after your procedure
Our instructions for the day of your procedure include:
- Food/drink: Do not eat or drink after the time specified in your scheduling call, except for sips of water with medications. You must have an empty stomach for your procedure. If you eat or drink during the specified period of time, we will have to reschedule your procedure.
- Medication: Just before the procedure, we will give you medication to help you relax and sleep. For your other medications, follow your care team’s special instructions, including:
- Diabetes medications (insulin and oral medications)
- Anti-coagulants such as Coumadin® (warfarin), Eliquis® (apixaban), Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) or Pradaxa® (dabigatran)
- Allergies: Tell the care team member if you have any allergies, especially to antibiotics or IV (intravenous) dye.
- Registration: When you arrive, go to the cardiac cath lab on K-2 in the Henry Ford Hospital Clinic (K) building to register.
Information for family members
- We offer self-parking and valet parking at all the entrances to Henry Ford Hospital. Find out more about parking lots and costs.
- Your loved ones may join you in the cardiac cath lab after you are ready for your procedure but before it begins.
- We ask them to provide a cell phone number so that we can contact them during or after the procedure.
- Your loved ones keep your personal belongings until after your procedure is finished, when you go to a general care area.
- The waiting area is just across from the cath lab. Your loved ones can wait there, walk outside on the hospital campus or get a bite to eat. See locations and hours for our food and retail services.
What to bring to the hospital
When you check in at the cath lab registration desk to register for your hospital stay and procedure, please bring your:
- Photo ID
- Health insurance card
You may want to bring personal items to use during your hospital stay, such as:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Comb or brush
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Hearing aids
- Reading materials
- Walking aids, such as a walker or a cane
You may need to move from one room to another during your hospital stay, so bring only items with little personal or monetary value to avoid losing valuable items. If you wear glasses, hearing aids or dentures, label or engrave them, if possible, with your name and contact information.
The day of your heart procedure: What to expect
After you register at the cardiac cath lab, we prepare you for the procedure. The steps include:
Giving consent for your heart procedure
Before the procedure, your physician or another member of your care team reviews the risks and benefits of the procedure. This is a good time to ask any last-minute questions about the procedure. We ask you to read and sign a consent form that states that you understand the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Preparing in the pre-procedure area
- Your heart procedure begins in the pre-procedure area in either the cardiac cath lab on K-2 or the Pre-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) on level 4.
- Your nurse starts 2 IV (intravenous) catheters to administer medications and IV fluid through a blood vessel.
- We connect a heart monitor to you so that we can follow your heart rate and rhythm during the procedure.
- We place a special IV catheter into an artery, usually in the wrist, to continuously monitor your blood pressure during the procedure.
- You may need a catheter (thin tube) placed in your bladder to drain urine. We remove the catheter after the procedure or as soon as you are able to stand to use the toilet.
Reviewing the types of anesthesia for your heart procedure
While we are planning your treatment, we discuss with you the level of anesthesia you need for your procedure. We make the decision based on the type of procedure you are having and your overall health.
On the day of your procedure, one of our anesthesiologists meets with you in the pre-procedure area to discuss your needs and review details about anesthesia. The types of anesthesia that we use include:
- Local anesthesia: This type involves medication to numb the area in which we place the catheters. Local anesthesia prevents pain or discomfort during the procedure. We use local anesthesia for all our heart catheterization procedures, often in combination with moderate (or conscious) sedation.
- Conscious (moderate) sedation: This moderate level of anesthesia makes you feel relaxed and drowsy. You may doze off but are still able to follow simple instructions if needed. Generally, we don’t use a breathing tube with conscious sedation.
- Monitored anesthesia care (MAC): This is a planned procedure during which the patient undergoes local anesthesia together with sedation and analgesia (pain medication). With MAC, you are often able to recover more quickly with fewer side effects such as nausea, sore throat and memory impairment. Our anesthesia team monitors you closely throughout the procedure, using a breathing tube only if needed.
- General anesthesia: With this type of anesthesia, you are unconscious and unable to feel pain during the procedure. After you are under anesthesia, our specialists place a breathing tube down your throat and into your lungs to prevent fluid from entering your lungs and to help you breathe.
After the heart procedure
The procedure takes 2 to 4 hours, depending on your specific procedure. When it’s over, you begin your recovery in the cath lab recovery area. Your physician contacts your family members either in the waiting area or by phone if they have stepped away.
Your loved ones can visit you in:
- The cath lab recovery area shortly after the procedure
- Your room for your hospital stay
Find out all the details about your initial recovery in the hospital after your procedure. You can expect to:
- Be awake and alert within a couple of hours
- Be out of bed and able to walk after 4 to 6 hours of bed rest
- Stay in the hospital for 3 to 4 days before traveling home
Minimally invasive heart procedures at Henry Ford: What to expect
Find out what to expect at each step of your care journey with the expert team at the Center for Structural Heart Disease:
- What to expect: We’ve outlined the entire process of the patient experience at Henry Ford so you know what to expect.
- Preparing for your procedure: We begin planning your treatment, and you begin preparing for your procedure and recovery.
- After your procedure: Your recovery begins at Henry Ford with a brief hospital stay after your procedure.
- Going home: Before your procedure, start planning for your home and health needs for going home and recovery.
Patient education for structural heart disease and treatment
Find out more about structural heart conditions and your treatment options at Henry Ford in these downloadable PDFs:
- Aortic stenosis: This condition develops as the aortic valve stiffens and narrows, preventing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
- Mitral stenosis: This condition affects the mitral valve, which allows blood to flow from the lungs into the heart.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): The heart muscle can thicken and stiffen, forcing the heart to pump harder to send blood and oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): Making the Decision: Our heart specialists are world-class experts in this groundbreaking treatment for aortic valve disease.