Heart Disease and Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization (also called cardiac cath or coronary angiogram) is an invasive imaging procedure that tests for heart disease by allowing your doctor to "see" how well your heart is functioning. During the test, a long, narrow tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm or leg and guided to your heart with the aid of a special X-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that X-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries, and heart chambers can be created.
Why Do I Need a Cardiac Catheterization?
Your doctor uses cardiac cath to:
What Are the Risks Associated With Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is generally safe. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks. Your doctor will discuss the risks of the procedure with you.
Risks are rare but can include:
Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have before undergoing cardiac catheterization or other tests for heart disease.