How is Cardiac Catheterization Performed?
OHVI cardiologists perform cardiac catheterization procedures both in the hospital and in our outpatient cardiac catheterization laboratory, the Center for Cardiovascular Excellence (CCE). Cardiac catheterization procedures may be performed either through the more traditional femoral artery (groin) approach or through the radial artery (wrist).
Using either approach, a long thin tube (“catheter”) is carefully guided under x-ray through the aorta to the coronary arteries. Injection of dye (“contrast”) through the catheter provides a highly accurate and precise x-ray picture of the coronary arteries revealing areas of narrowing or blockage.
In comparison to non-invasive tests such as stress tests or CT scans, cardiac catheterization is the most accurate method for evaluation of coronary artery disease and is considered the “gold standard”.
When indicated, blockages in the coronary arteries often can be opened using balloon angioplasty or coronary stents providing patients with relief from symptoms of angina and in some cases preventing a patient from experiencing a heart attack.
Additional measurements and angiograms can be obtained to evaluate cardiac pumping function, valvular abnormalities and complete hemodynamics including measurements of cardiac output and pressures within the heart and lungs.
Are there Risks to Cardiac Catheterization?
The risks of a complication from cardiac catheterization are quite low, generally less than 1%. Most cardiac catheterization procedures can be performed as an outpatient procedure either at CCE or in the hospital.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine