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Why Would I Need Peripheral Catheterization?

Peripheral catheterization is a diagnostic procedure that can identify the underlying cause of pain or other symptoms in your upper or lower extremities.

Our vascular specialists at Chinatown Cardiology in New York City provide peripheral catheterization as an outpatient procedure at our own state-of-the-art, Quad A accredited office based lab. We can determine if you need one as part of your diagnosis and provide guidance to prepare you for your peripheral catheterization.

What to know about peripheral catheterization

A peripheral catheterization (angiogram) is a minimally invasive procedure to identify blockages in the arteries that supply blood to your legs, feet, arms, and hands.

Blockages usually result from a buildup of hardened cholesterol (plaque) that interferes with healthy blood flow through the arteries. Obstructed blood flow can cause dysfunction in your limbs and make healing difficult for sores and other open wounds.

During a peripheral catheterization, your provider inserts a thin, flexible tube into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. They guide the tube into your neck and inject a contrast dye that travels through your bloodstream. 

The dye highlights how blood flows through your peripheral arteries and where any blockages exist.

When you might need peripheral catheterization

A peripheral catheterization might be necessary if you have persistent symptoms that relate to peripheral artery disease (PAD). These symptoms affect your limbs and can include:

Our vascular specialists complete a physical exam and may order other diagnostic tests before recommending peripheral catheterization. If these tests don’t provide enough information for your diagnosis, we can discuss your options for catheterization.

Preparing for outpatient peripheral catheterization

Ahead of your procedure, your provider may recommend you stop taking certain medications and change your diet.

On the day of your procedure, we help you get comfortable on an exam table, then use a local anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter enters your artery. To ensure precise placement, we use fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray technology) to guide the catheter into position.

After injecting the contrast dye, we use fluoroscopy imaging to follow it through your bloodstream and identify blockages. 

If your provider discovers severe blockages that prevent healthy blood flow, they can use the catheter to place a stent, a small device that widens your artery and remains in your blood vessel to support blood flow.

Recovering from peripheral catheterization

When your peripheral catheterization is over, you recover in the office while our team evaluates your vital signs. 

At the site where your provider inserted the catheter, you may have some bleeding. We apply a bandage over the area and may add pressure to the site to minimize swelling and bruising. Your provider reviews any activity limitations you need to follow before you can go home to rest.

Peripheral catheterization carries minimal risk for side effects. But keep the catheter insertion point clean and dry to prevent infection.

At a follow-up visit, your provider confirms your skin is healing and free of infection. We can also tell you when it’s safe to return to work and your other activities.

Call Chinatown Cardiology at one of our locations in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn to learn more about peripheral catheterization, or book your appointment online today.

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