Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Cardiac catheterization examines blood flow to the heart, diagnoses blockages and tests how well the heart is pumping.
Progress West’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab features:
- Experienced staff
- Diagnostic services
- Left and right cardiac catheterization
- Peripheral angiogram
- Pressure wire fractional flow reserve
- Permanent pacemakers
During the procedure a small tube, or catheter, is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or arm, through the aorta and into the heart. Once in place several diagnostic techniques may be used. The tip of the catheter can be placed into various parts of the heart to measure pressures within the chambers.
The catheter also can be advanced into the coronary arteries and a contrast dye injected. Using a fluoroscopy (an X-ray "movie") a physician can locate blockages in the coronary arteries. A small sample of heart tissue (a biopsy) may also be obtained using a catheter.
The patient is awake during the procedure, although a small sedating medication is administered.
Reasons for the Procedure
A cardiac catheterization may be performed to help diagnose:
- Atherosclerosis -- A gradual clogging of the arteries over many years by fatty materials and other substances in the blood stream
- Cardiomyopathy -- An enlargement of the heart due to thickening or weakening of the heart muscle
- Congenital Heart Disease -- Defects in one or more heart structures that occur during formation of the fetus, such as a hole in the wall between the two lower heart chambers
- Congestive Heart Failure -- A condition where the heart muscle is so weak that blood cannot be pumped efficiently, causing buildup (congestion) in the blood vessels and lungs; and edema (swelling) in the feet, ankles and other parts of the body
- Valvular Heart Disease -- A malfunction of one or more of the heart valves that may cause an obstruction of the blood flow within the heart
A cardiac catheterization also may be performed if you have recently had an episode(s) or one of these cardiac symptoms:
- Chest pain or angina
- Shortness of breath
Learn more about the cardiac catheterization procedure.
Watch a cardiac catheterization video.
Related procedures used to assess the heart include:
- Resting or exercise electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Holter monitor
- Signal-averaged ECG
- Chest X-ray
- Computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest
- Electrophysiological studies
- Myocardial perfusion scans
- Radionuclide angiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart
- Ultrafast CT scan