Cardiovascular Surgery

Cardiac Catheterization

This procedure involves passing a thin flexible tube (catheter) into the right or left side of the heart, usually from the groin or the arm.

How the test is performed:

The patient is given medicine to help them relax through an IV. The catheter is then placed through the IV and into the blood vessel in the leg or neck. It is carefully mvoed up into the heart using live x-rays as a guide.

Then the doctor can:
  • Collect blood samples from the heart
  • Measure pressure and blood flow in the heart's chambers and in the large arteries around the heart
  • Measure the oxygen in different parts of the heart
  • Examine the arteries of the heart
  • Perform a biopsy on the heart muscle
The test may last 30-60 minutes. After the test, the catheter is removed.

The study is done by trained cardiologists with the assistance of trained technicians and nurses.

Why the test is performed:

This procedure is typically done to get information about the heart or its blood vessels or to provide treatment in certain types of heart conditions. It may also be used to determine the need for heart surgery.

The doctor may perform this procedure to diagnose or evaluate:
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart defects that are present at birth (congenital)
  • Problems with the heart valvces
  • Causes of heart failure or cardiomyopathy
The following procedures may also be done using cardiac catheterization:
  • Repair of certain types of heart defects
  • Repair of a stuck (stenotic) heart valve
  • Opening of blocked arteries or grafts in the heart
May also be performed for the following:
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension
  • Heart valve defects, like pulmonary valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation, and aortic stenosis
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Birth defects, like tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great vessels, ventricular septal defect, and coarctation of the aorta
  • Cardiac amyloidosis
  • Cardiomyopathy

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