About Cardiac Catheterization
This is an invasive procedure (though not considered to be “surgery”) where we put long tubes (called “catheters”) through a vein or artery in the leg or arm and then up into the heart, allowing us to directly measure pressures in various heart chambers. Injection of a type of dye called “contrast” can then allow us to take motion pictures of the heart arteries, demonstrating if there are blockages to blood flow. We can also inject the contrast inside the heart itself and see how strong the heart is. A cardiac catheterization can therefore make the diagnosis of coronary artery disease, assess for valvular heart disease (such as aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation) and confirm the severity of congestive heart failure. With this information, the cardiologist can decide if a person would benefit from a stent or a surgical procedure.