Overview of Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a common, non-surgical procedure performed in a catheterization laboratory (cath lab). Cardiac catheterization allows your healthcare providers to do many different tests and measurements to diagnose and treat problems with your heart and coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle).

A narrow tube is inserted into the femoral artery (groin), threaded through the arterial system, and into the arteries that surround and supply blood to the heart. A contrast dye is injected, and X-ray pictures are taken to diagnose the disease. This imaging portion of the test is also referred to as coronary angiography.

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During cardiac catheterization, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted through an artery (usually the femoral artery, in your groin) and gently advanced to the heart.

Diagnostic Techniques Used During Cardiac Catheterization

The following are descriptions of the most common diagnostic procedures performed in the cath lab:

Interventional Techniques Used During Cardiac Catheterization

If the problem is diagnosed as a blockage of one or more arteries in the heart, then several interventional techniques can be used to open these coronary arteries blocked by plaque. Plaque is a substance that builds up on the artery wall like hard water deposits in a pipe.

Patient Instructions

Learn what happens (and what you need to do) before, during, and after cardiac catheterization:

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