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Cardiac catheterization, commonly called a “cardiac cath ”, is a procedure used to evaluate multiple aspects of the heart’s structure and function including the heart’s blood vessels (looking for blockages), the pumping function, and valves. A catheter is a long, thin, hollow tube that is inserted into the circulation, usually through the blood vessels in the groin. It is then guided to the heart using special X-ray equipment. Once in position, measurements of the heart’s function using special pressure measurements, as well as X-ray movies of the heart chambers and blood vessels by injecting contrast (X-ray dye) can be obtained.
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