What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac Catheterization is a procedure used to examine blood flow to the heart and test how well the heart is pumping. A doctor inserts a thin plastic tube (catheter) into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. From there is can be led into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries.

How does the test work?

This test can measure blood pressure within the heart and determine how much oxygen is in the blood. It’s also used to provide information about the pumping ability of the heart muscle. Catheters can also be used to inject dye into the coronary arteries (called, coronary angiography or coronary arteriography). Catheters with a balloon on the tip are used in the procedure called coronary angioplasty (commonly referred to as a percutanious coronary intervention). Catheterization of the heart may also be done on infants and children in order to look for congenital heart defects.