Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization refers to a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions.

To initiate a cardiac catheterization, a small incision is made in the patient’s upper thigh to allow access to a blood vessel leading to the heart. A guidewire is then carefully inserted into the blood vessel, and threaded into position inside the heart. A thin, flexible, tube with a specialized tip, called a catheter, is then inserted into place following the guidewire.

Different types of catheters can be used to evaluate the heart’s structure or function and/or to perform an interventional procedure.

A few examples of what these specialized catheters can do include:

  1. Inject dye to locate blockages of the heart’s blood vessels; coronary angiogram.
  2. Record pressures to determine how well the heart pumps or identify problems with the heart valves.
  3. Inject dye into the heart’s chambers to evaluate their structure and function. and detect valve abnormalities.
  4. Obtain biopsy samples.
  5. Perform interventional procedures that open blocked coronary arteries or stenotic valves or replace damaged valves.
  6. Study and regulate the electrical conduction system.

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