Cardiac catheterization is a sophisticated diagnostic procedure that provides vital information about the heart and coronary arteries. It enables cardiologists to locate blockages in the arteries leading to the heart, assess the severity of those blockages, and determine appropriate courses of treatment. It also can be used to evaluate the strength of the patient’s heart muscle.
This relatively painless, non-surgical procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube into a blood vessel and gently guiding the tube to the patient’s heart. Special x-ray equipment is used to monitor the movement of this catheter inside the body. The procedure takes about a half-hour and is often done on an outpatient basis. Patients are awake and able to watch part of the process on a television screen.