What To Expect


Welcome to the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center.

The experience of having a Heart or Vascular procedure can be difficult and we want you to know we understand your concerns. We believe it is important for you to know what you can expect during your hospital visit.  The information that follows is an outline of the activities associated with your admission, procedure and discharge planning. 

The quality of care you receive and your New York-Presbyterian Hospital experience is important to us.  Please read this information carefully as we are sure you will find it invaluable.


Once you have determined to have your procedure, the following information will be needed:

  • Home Address & Telephone Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Medical Insurance Information
  • Alternate Telephone Number               
  • Email Address (if available)
  • Primary Care Physicians Name & Contact information
  • Referring Physicians Name (if different than PCP) & Contact Information

Pre-Admission Lab work

Cardiac cath lab patients are required to have pre-procedure lab work done within 1-week of your procedure.  Labs can be drawn in your doctor’s office or a local diagnostic laboratory.  We can perform this lab work the day of your procedure, but it may cause delays or even cancellation if there is an abnormal finding.


Physician Assistant and Nursing Care Team
You will receive a call 1-2 business days prior to your procedure from the Physician Assistant and Nursing Care teams.  A medical interview will be conducted by telephone in order to ensure all necessary information (i.e. cardiac or vascular tests, lab work, etc.) is obtained prior to your arrival. 

Special Concerns:

  • Allergies:  Please notify us immediately if you have an allergy to any of the following:
    IV Contrast or “Dye”
    Clopidogrel (Plavix)
    Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
  • Coumadin:  Warfarin (Coumadin) is a special medicine prescribed to patients who require their blood to be “thinned.”  Please notify the Physician Assistant or Nursing Care team that you are receiving this medicine, as there are some special concerns that need to be addressed before your procedure.
  • Aspirin:  Aspirin should be continued, unless otherwise instructed by the cardiac care team or your physician.


Research Team
New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center has a tradition of medical excellence.  As part of this tradition, we participate in research protocols only offered in a limited number of hospitals in the United States.  This affords us the opportunity to offer our patients technology that may not otherwise be available.  Our Research Coordinators may approach you if you qualify as a candidate for one of these clinical trials.


Here are some general instructions for the day of your procedure.

  • No eating or drinking for at least 6-8 hours prior to procedure (we usually recommend to stop eating after midnight).
  • Medications, as directed, can be taken with sips of water the morning of procedure.
  • If you are taking medicine for Diabetes, there are some special instructions that will be given to you the night before the procedure.
  • Once you arrive at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, proceed to the 2nd floor cardiac Cath lab.
  • You will then be escorted to an area where you can change and be examined.  (Please know that sometimes we experience delays, which may require you to wait in our lounge until space becomes available for you to be examined.)
  • After your examination, there may be some waiting time before your procedure.  The waiting time can vary (sometimes up to a few hours), as some procedures take longer than others.  We are committed to providing the highest quality of care to all of our patients and in doing so delays are sometimes unavoidable.


The procedure you have will determine if you will go home the same day or stay overnight.  If you have only a diagnostic catheterization there is a good chance you will go home later that day.  If an intervention is performed, you will be sent home the following day before noon in most instances. 

A Discharge Class is available Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am to 11:00am.  This class provides information on cardiovascular health and post procedure care.  We strongly recommend everyone who has had an intervention attend this class.

Caring For Yourself At Home

Groin Care

  • Check your groin daily for about a week.  Bruising is common and usually resolves in a few weeks
  • If you notice any drainage from the catheterization site you should call your doctor immediately.
  • For any leg redness, swelling, hematoma (small collection of blood under the skin) or increasing leg pain, you should call your doctor immediately.
  • If you have a fever and your leg feels tender and warm this may be a sign of infection and you should go see your doctor.
  • If you have severe bleeding at the catheterization site, lie down flat with the extremity straight; apply firm pressure to the area and call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


If you have had a catheterization procedure, you must:

  • Not lift anything greater than 10 pounds for one week.
  • Wait 3 days before returning to your previous level of activity, including sexual activity.
  • Wait 24 hours after discharge to resume driving
  • Avoid strenuous exertion for one month


If you have had a heart attack, you must check with your physician before returning to work or driving as well as resuming/starting any exercise/sexual activity.


  • Do not take a tub bath for 3 days. This includes whirlpools, spas and swimming pools.
  • You may take a shower with mild soap. Do not scrub the groin site. Pat the area dry with a towel.



  • Your pharmacist may recommend that you avoid taking 2 anti-platelet drugs; however it is commonly recommended for patients who have had a stent. If any physician or dentist recommends stopping your Aspirin / Clopidogrel (Plavix) / Ticlopidine (Ticlid) prior to the recommended duration (as prescribed) you should contact the Physicians Assistants at 212-305-7060.


Stent Cards

  • Prior to discharge you will receive a stent card. This card provides you with the name of the physician who performed your procedure as well as the exact location of your stent. This card should be carried with you at all times, preferably in your wallet. In the event of an emergency, this information will be very helpful for the physician evaluating you


Follow up

  • Follow up with your primary cardiologist 1-2 weeks after discharge from the hospital.


Cardiac Rehabilitation

  • Cardiac Rehabilitation can help patients who have heart disease recover faster and return to their productive lives. It is also a great resource for up to date information about advances in heart disease protection. Insurance often covers these programs.


Contact information:
New York Presbyterian Hospital:          212.305.2500 /
Procedure Scheduling Office:                212.305.0676
Cardiac Catheterization Lab:                 212.305.2996
Physician Assistant Office:                     212.342.3623
5 Garden North:                                   212.305.6705
CIVT Physician Line:                            212.305.7060

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Herbert Irving Pavilion,
6th Floor
New York, NY 10032

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New York, NY 10022


Bailey Court
334 Route 100
Somers, NY 10589
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