What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose some cardiovascular conditions and helps to determine treatments to improve these conditions. Typically, a long thin tube is inserted in a vein or artery from your neck or arm to your heart.

Using this tube called a catheter, doctors can do diagnostic tests and perform heart disease treatments, such as coronary stenting and coronary angioplasty.

Why it is this test perform?

Generally, a Cardiac catheterization test is done to detect a heart condition. It can also be done as a procedure to treat some heart conditions.

What can be detected of having a cardiac catheterization test:

  • Check the pumping function of your heart
  • Diagnose congenital heart conditions
  • Detect problems in the heart valves
  • Locate narrowing or blockages in blood vessels
  • Measure pressure and oxygen levels in different parts of the heart
  • Take a sample of tissue from the heart

What can be detected from a Cardiac catheterization as a procedure to treat heart diseases

  • Closing holes to prevent blood clots
  • Opening narrow heart valves
  • Perform an angioplasty with or without stent placement
  • Repairing or replacing heart valves
  • Treating irregular heart rhythms with ablation

What are the Risks of a cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization has some risks as most heart and blood vessels procedures. Rarely, severe complications happen.

Risks of cardiac catheterization are:

  • Allergic reactions to the dye or medication
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Bruising
  • Damage to the artery, heart, or the area where the catheter was inserted
  • Heart attack
  • Infection
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Kidney damage
  • Stroke

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, let your doctor know before having the procedure.


Before your test:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before your test or as directed by your doctor.
  • If diabetes is a pre-existing condition, ask for instructions about diabetes medications and insulin.
  • The doctor may recommend stopping blood thinner medications that may thin the blood.
  • Take all medications and supplements to the test, so the doctor will know the exact dose to take.

These are some of the common uses for cardiac catheterization:

  • Coronary angiogram: a dye will be injected through the catheter to get X-ray images of the heart arteries.
  • Right heart catheterization: the catheter has special sensors to measure the pressure and blood flow in the heart.
  • Heart biopsy: a catheter with a small, jaw-like tip will take a small sample of tissue from the heart.
  • Balloon angioplasty, with or without stenting: a small balloon catheter will be inserted through the flexible catheter and inflated at the narrowed area to open it up.
  • Balloon valvuloplasty: this procedure is done to open up narrowed heart valves.
  • Heart ablation: multiple catheters are placed so that radiofrequency energy can be directed to the part of your heart, causing abnormal heartbeats.
  • Repair of heart defects: for closing a hole in the heart, a device is inserted into your heart to close the hole. In cases of heart leak repair, a clip is used to stop the leak.
  • Valve replacement: an artificial valve will be implanted in your heart to replace a narrowed heart valve.
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.