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What is cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization  allows the doctor to assess the pressures within the heart, to evaluate the pumping function of the heart and to obtain a “road map” of the coronary arteries (the vessels that supply the oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle). A cardiac catheterization may also be called a coronary angiography, angiogram or heart catheterization.

During a cardiac catheterization, your cardiologist will insert a very narrow, soft flexible plastic tube called a catheter, through an artery and/ or vein in your groin or wrist.  The cardiologist will then thread the catheter through your aorta into your heart.  Special X-ray equipment is used to watch the arteries and the left ventricle.

Corrective intervention may take place during this testing known as angioplasting or stenting.

Why is catheterization important?

A cardiac catheterization provides more precise information about the presence or absence of blockage in the coronary arteries.  It also give more accurate, detailed information about the heart’s function than any other test, allowing your cardiologist to choose the most effective treatment.