Preparing for Your Procedure

As a patient coming to the Heart Institute for a procedure, you will be in one of the following categories:

  • A day patient or outpatient coming from home
  • A referred patient sent from another hospital for a day procedure
  • An admitted patient coming to the Heart Institute the day prior to your procedure

The patient categories are described below because the process for each is slightly different.

Same-day Angioplasty
Same-day angioplasty occurs when the angioplasty is done immediately following the angiogram.
This decision is made by your doctor at the time of your procedure. 

Day Patients or Outpatients

You are considered a day patient/outpatient when you are coming to the Heart Institute from home on the same day as your angiogram. A pre-procedure visit may be arranged by the office of the cardiologist performing the procedure. This visit includes: 

  • Cardiac assessment
  • A session to teach you about the procedure
  • Review and signing of the consent form
  • Pre-catheterization tests (blood tests, ECG)
  • Specific instructions about your medications 

Note: Please bring your health card and all of your medications.  

Many of our patients also find it helpful to bring: 

  • A family member or friend to take notes or ask questions
  • A list of your own questions to ensure that you have all the information you need 

If you are coming to the Heart Institute for blood work and ECGs, present yourself to the Day Unit. If you have been given an information package from your doctor, please give this to the ward clerk in the Day Unit. You will then be directed to the Ambulatory Care Unit for your tests. 

Things to do before the day of your procedure: 

  • Please make arrangements for transportation home on discharge. You are not allowed to drive yourself. Discharge will take place approximately 5 to 6 hours after your procedure.
  • If you live a considerable distance from the Heart Institute, check with the doctor to see if you should stay close to the hospital the night of discharge. Arrangements for accommodations should be made in advance. (see Accommodations insert) 

You will receive a call between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the evening before your procedure to confirm your expected time of arrival and the approximate time of your procedure. If you have not received a call by 9:00 p.m., please call us at 613-696-7000 x14770.  

On the day of your procedure, you will come to the Heart Institute Day Unit located on the first floor. Once on the first floor, follow the green hearts. 

Relatives and visitors may accompany patients to the Day Unit. Only one person may stay with the patient at any time. This person may be asked to wait in the lounge area for short periods of time. If a contact person is not present, the staff will phone them after the procedure. Visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Referred Patients Coming from Other Hospitals as Day Patients

The Heart Institute will contact the nursing unit at your hospital to arrange the date and time of your procedure. Your time of transfer will depend on ambulance availability. To be sure you arrive in time, the ambulance may bring you well in advance of your procedure time. 

You may be discharged directly from the Heart Institute. It is important to bring discharge clothing with you. You must be prepared to make arrangements for transportation home on short notice. 

For patients returning to their hospital by ambulance, there may be delays depending on ambulance availability.

Visitors may accompany patients to the Day Unit. There is a restriction of one visitor per patient at any time. Visitors may be asked to wait in the lounge area for short periods of time. If a family member is not present, the staff will phone them after the procedure. Visiting hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Ensure you provide the phone number and location of your contact person to the Heart Institute nurse in case of emergency.

Admitted Patients

If you are to be admitted to the Heart Institute, please call the Admitting Department at 613-696-7144 between 9:00 a.m.  and 9:30 a.m. on the morning of admission to learn when your bed will be available. The bed cannot be booked prior to your admitting day and often will not be ready until after lunch. You will be asked to come to the Admitting Department once your bed is available.

Bring your medications (including insulin) as you may be asked to take your own medications. 

For All Patients

Please use the Patient Responsibility Checklist to help prepare for your admission to the Heart Institute. 

Prior to your procedure: 

  • A nurse will do an assessment; take your blood pressure and other vital signs.
  • A saline lock (intravenous catheter) may be inserted, and blood tests and ECG may be done.
  • Pre-procedure teaching will be done and a video will be available for your viewing.
  • You will see the cardiologist performing your procedure.
  • Informed consent will be obtained.
  • You may eat up to four hours and drink fluids up to two hours prior to your procedure.
  • A small area of both groins or your wrist will be prepped. 

In the Cardiac Catheterization Lab

You will be escorted to the waiting area of the Catheterization Lab either by walking, wheelchair, stretcher or bed. 

Before Your Procedure 

After a brief discussion with the nurse you will be taken into the Catheterization Lab and asked to lie on a special X-ray table. The temperature in the room will be very cold. You will be attached to a heart monitor. 

As this is a teaching hospital there may be other physicians, nurses and lab technologists involved in your procedure. All staff will be wearing gowns, masks and special aprons. 

Your groin/wrist will be washed with a cold solution and sterile sheets will be placed over you. It is important that you neither move nor touch the top of the sheets once they are in place. You may be asked to lie with your arms above your head for a period of time. A nurse will be available to assist you. 

During Your Procedure 

You will be given medication to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure so that you can follow instructions from the doctor and nurses. The doctor will administer freezing to your groin/wrist. A small catheter will be threaded through a blood vessel up to the heart. A contrast dye will be injected through this catheter to highlight the coronary arteries. Most patients experience a sensation of body warmth as the dye is injected or the urge to empty their bladder.

X-ray pictures will be taken throughout the procedure. The X-ray machine will move over you very close to your body.

During the procedure, you may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds, or to cough. It is not unusual to experience some chest pain. Inform the nurse if you experience any discomfort or have concerns.

The time for the procedure in the lab is usually between 30 to 90 minutes. If your condition is complex, your procedure will be longer.

Due to unforeseen circumstances there may be a lengthy wait in the lab waiting area or you may be returned to your room until the lab is available.