Cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronary angiogram) is an invasive imaging procedure that allows your doctor to evaluate your heart function. Cardiac catheterization is used to:
- Evaluate or confirm the presence of coronary artery disease, valve disease or disease of the aorta
- Evaluate heart muscle function
- Determine the need for further treatment (such as an interventional procedure or coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG, surgery)
How this procedure is performed
You can stay awake or sleep during the procedure and you may be given medication to relax you. It is important that you tell the physician any symptoms you experience during the procedure. You will receive a local anesthetic to prevent pain at the insertion site. The doctor inserts an introducing sheath into the artery in your groin, arm, or wrist. Through the sheath, a long, thin tube called a catheter is placed inside the artery and guided toward your heart. To perform different tests or check other parts of the heart, the doctor inserts a new catheter or moves the catheter or x-ray machine. A contrast dye is injected through the catheter. When this dye is injected you may feel a warm flushing sensation.
The length of the procedure depends on what the physician is evaluating, what he observes and the treatment options he uses. You can expect to be in the procedure room from 30 minutes to an hour or more.
CPG Physicians who perform this procedure
Jude A. Mugerwa, MD, FACC
Roshankumar B. Patel, MD
William E. Smeal, MD, FACC