Preparing for your upcoming interventional radiology procedure is fairly simple compared to open surgery. There are a few things to go over that may apply to you.
There are no mandatory heart or lung tests that need to be performed ahead of time because we do almost all our procedures under conscious or deep sedation. This greatly reduces the risks associated with slowing down the heart and lowering blood pressure, namely heart attack and stroke. If you have been told that you have heart failure or you see a cardiologist for some reason, we will reach out to them for records and determine if there is any reason to include their expertise in your preparation. The only requirement for everyone is to have some basic blood tests to look at your kidney function, electrolytes, and blood counts. We can often get these recent labs from your primary care doctor.
Blood Thinning Medicine
There are many different types of blood thinning medications with variable strength and length of activity. If you are taking medicine that just works on your platelets, like aspirin or Plavix, you can usually continue those medicines for any procedure that is not directly performed on a solid organ, such as a biopsy or an ablation. For example, if you are taking a baby aspirin daily, we are ok with you staying on that medicine during your prostate artery embolization or your geniculate artery embolization.
If your blood is fully thinned, also known as fully anticoagulated, with a medicine such as Eliquis or Coumadin, you will have to stop the medicine for a few days before your procedure. It can be restarted the day after the procedure. Depending on the reason your doctors are keeping your blood thin, you may have to be on a shorter acting blood thinner while we are holding your normal blood thinning medicine. If necessary, we will reach out to your prescribing doctor to determine this.
If you have diabetes and are taking medicine for your high blood sugar, there may be some additional medication that we will hold around the procedure, specifically any of your medicines that contain the drug metformin. If you are taking insulin, you will continue to take that as usual until the day of the procedure.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you use a CPAP device, we ask that you bring it with you. We can usually administer sedation if you use your device. You will be lying flat on a procedure table for at least a half hour, so the device will help to allow you to stay breathing comfortably.
IV Contrast Allergy
If you have had a reaction when getting IV contrast for an angiogram or CT scan, you can usually still have a procedure, but you may have to take a short course of steroids the day before the procedure. We will call in a prescription and coordinate the timing for you.
Because most of our procedures involve some form of sedation, you will, at the very least, need to plan to have someone pick you up from our facility to bring you back to your home. We are not able to allow you to get into a rideshare unless you elect to go through your procedure with local anesthesia only.