Many individuals may believe that being diagnosed with sleep apnea merely means being oftentimes sleepy. While extreme daytime fatigue is indeed a byproduct of sleep apnea, there are numerous long-term conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea, including an increased risk for dementia, increased cancer risk, and development of cardiovascular disease. One such cardiovascular condition commonly associated with sleep apnea is pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is noted as being a condition in which a person has an unusually high blood pressure, generally affecting the arteries in the lung, thereby causing the right side of the heart to work harder. One of the tests used to diagnose or evaluate pulmonary hypertension is called cardiac catheterization.
Cardiac catheterization involves the insertion of a flexible, very thin tube into a vein in either the arm of groin. The catheter is then slowly moved into the right or left side of the heart in order to examine the arteries, collect blood samples from the heart, perform a biopsy, measure oxygen levels, and examine flow and pressure of blood. If during the course of the procedure a blockage is discovered, a stent may be placed or an angioplasty performed. The cardiac catheterization generally lasts between 30 and 60 minutes and is conducted with the patient awake and responsive.
In order to prepare for the test, patients are advised not to eat or drink anything for approximately 6 to 8 hours prior to the test. On some occasions you may be asked to spend the night at the hospital on the night prior to doctors conducting the cardiac catheterization, while in other cases you’ll simply be asked to report to the hospital early the morning of the procedure. Upon completion of the procedure you’ll likely remain in the hospital overnight in order to allow the catheter insertion site to heal. Nurses will regularly check your blood pressure and heart rate to ascertain there were no complications resulting from the cardiac catheterization.
While there are a number of factors that can necessitate needing cardiac catheterization, it’s important to not let a treatable condition such as sleep apnea be one. SleepDisorders.com has a vast network of sleep physicians and sleep dentists available to treat individuals across the nation. If you suspect your extreme daytime fatigue and lessened mental acuity is a product of sleep apnea, use the SleepDisorders.com Doctor Finder to find a sleep expert located near you. The use of a CPAP, Oral Appliance, or modifications to your day to day routine may spare you from the development of a cardiovascular condition.