Cardiac catheterization, also called an angiogram, is a procedure that helps physicians diagnose artery, valve and other heart problems. During the procedure, the physician inserts a long, thin tube into a blood vessel. The tube is gently directed to the heart and then to the origin of the coronary arteries. This is the catheterization portion of the procedure.
Dye is then injected into the coronary artery while X-ray pictures are taken. This is the angiogram part of the procedure. The dye in the coronary arteries is seen on the X-ray as a white line, and any disruption of the white line may signify an area of plaque build-up inside the wall of the artery.
During this same procedure, dye is injected into the heart’s pumping chambers in order to see how well the heart muscle is contracting and how well the valves are working.
Cardiac catheterization and angiogram can be used for diagnosis as well as for treatment. Your cardiologist may use the procedure to:
- Implant electrodes for a pacemaker
- Administer a drug
- Perform coronary angioplasty
- Coronary Stenting
For more information on cardiac catheterization, contact the Cardiac Cath Lab.