Cardiac catheterization is a relatively common procedure used by cardiologists to examine the workings of the heart and its blood vessels.
Specifically, cardiac catheterization is used to examine the heart valves, look for congenital heart defects, and most commonly to locate blockages in the blood vessels around the heart.
Every year in the United States, more than 1.5 million cardiac catheterizations are performed. The procedure involves inserting a long, narrow, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in the arm or groin. The cardiologist carefully guides the catheter through the blood vessel and into the heart, while watching the progress of the catheter on a special X-ray machine called a fluoroscope.
Although this is an invasive medical procedure with some risk, patients normally feel little pain and discomfort from the actual procedure. It is the best and most widely accepted procedure for diagnosing many heart conditions.
Purpose of the Procedure
Before the Procedure
During the Procedure
After the Procedure
Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Gregory Vigesaa talks about cardiac catheterization.