Prepare for a Minimally Invasive Procedure

Your doctor uses catheter-based procedures to diagnose and treat heart disease.

To perform minimally invasive heart procedures, your doctor uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into your upper thigh or wrist and into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart.

Doctors at El Camino Health use a variety of minimally invasive heart procedures, which don’t require a hospital stay. The time you spend in the recovery room after your procedure will depend on the type of procedure and your condition.

Prepare for Your Procedure

Make sure you review our registration and admissions information so you're prepared well in advance of your procedure.

Your cardiologist's office will coordinate exams and testing before your procedure, and explain what to expect before, during and after a minimally invasive heart procedure.

It's important to be in the best possible health before your procedure. There are a number of things you should do to prepare and protect your health:

  • Get insurance authorization. Our patient registration department will obtain insurance authorization. Please call your insurance provider to determine your financial responsibility.
  • Make sure you have an advance healthcare directive. This important document communicates your healthcare preferences if you’re unable to express your wishes. You should bring your advance healthcare directive with you to the hospital.
  • Stop smoking. It’s mandatory to stop smoking before your procedure — the sooner, the better. Smoking irritates your lungs and can affect the amount of oxygen you receive, which is important for healing. If your lungs aren’t in top shape, it can take you longer to recover. We offer programs to help you quit.
  • Report new health problems. Let your doctor's office know immediately if you have any new health problems — such as a fever, cold symptoms, a cough or a urinary tract infection — or if you've started taking antibiotics. As your procedure date approaches, avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines and allergies. If you take diabetes medications or blood thinners, make sure you review your doctor’s instructions and know when to stop taking them and when to resume taking again. Make sure you tell your doctor about any allergies to shellfish or medicines (such as Fentanyl, Versed or Ativan).

The Night Before Your Procedure

Bacteria live on your skin and don't normally pose any risk, but they can lead to infection. That’s why it’s important to shower the night before your procedure to lower your risk. Use regular bath soap, and don’t apply any lotion. If you’re wearing nail polish, remove it before your shower.

Eating and Drinking

If your procedure is scheduled in the morning, eat a regular dinner the night before, but drink only clear liquids after midnight. You can drink clear liquids up to two hours before you check in for your procedure. It’s important to be well-hydrated before and after your procedure to minimize any complications with the contrast solution.

Check In

On the morning of your surgery, arrive at Mountain View Hospital (El Camino Health) two and a half hours before your scheduled surgery time. Go directly to the preoperative/short stay unit (2B) on the second floor of the hospital.

If you arrive after 7 a.m., check in at patient registration (1B), near the hospital's main lobby entrance on the first floor.

Family Members

Your comfort and well-being are very important to us, and we understand that having loved ones close by can be comforting to you and them. That's why we offer family-centered care that ensures your loved ones are involved in your care and that they're well-informed throughout your stay. They're an important part of the healing process, so we offer a welcoming environment where they can support you.

You can bring two people to wait with you before your procedure. Once you go to the cath lab, they're welcome to stay in the waiting room on the second floor, in the 2B waiting area. After the procedure, your cardiologist will meet with them there and discuss your condition.

Find out what to expect during a minimally invasive heart procedure and recovery at home.