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What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure done to check on the health of the heart. A tiny, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel through a very small opening, usually in the groin, and threaded through the blood vessel up to the heart. Once the catheter is in place, it can diagnose problems in the heart and perform certain corrective procedures.

A coronary catheter can be used to:
  • Take blood samples
  • Inject dye for an angiogram
  • Check for valve defects
  • Measure oxygen and pressure levels within the heart chambers
  • Take a biopsy
  • Perform a percutaneous coronary intervention, or procedure to clear blocked arteries
  • Widen narrowed valve openings

Because all of this can be accomplished without the need for open surgery, cardiac catheterization has become a popular option.