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How should I prepare for a cardiac cath?

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For a cardiac cath, or catheterization, most people will need to have blood tests and an electrocardiogram.

Your doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions about what you can and can't eat or drink before the procedure.

Tell your doctor all of the medications you're currently taking, including herbal products and dietary supplements.

Ask your doctor what drugs you can take on the day of your cardiac cath. You may need to stop taking certain medications, such as Coumadin (a blood thinner), for a few days before the procedure.

If you have diabetes, ask your doctor how to adjust those meds the day of your test.

Tell your doctor and/or nurses if you are allergic to anything, especially iodine, shellfish, X-ray dye, latex, or rubber products (such as rubber gloves or balloons) or penicillin-type medications.

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How long does a cardiac cath last?

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