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Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a test to check your heart. This test uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter that is inserted into the heart through blood vessels. This test can include a coronary angiogram, which checks the coronary arteries camera.gif.

A cardiac catheterization can check blood flow in the coronary arteries. It also checks the function of different parts of the heart, such as the heart chambers, the heart valves, and the wall of the heart. In children, this test is used to check for heart problems that have been present since birth (congenital heart defect).

A coronary angiogram is used to find out if you have disease in your coronary arteries (atherosclerosis camera.gif). If you have this condition, the test can find fat and calcium deposits (plaque) that are narrowing your coronary arteries.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is similar to a coronary angiogram. But it is used to open up a narrowed coronary artery with special tools. PCI includes:

Results from a coronary angiogram help to find out if certain treatments are likely to work for you. This includes treatment with medicines, bypass surgery, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), such as angioplasty.

For help deciding about having this test for coronary artery disease, see dplink.gif Heart Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?

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Why It Is Done

Cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is done to:

  • Check blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart.
  • Check the pumping action of the heart.
  • Find out if a congenital heart defect is present and how severe it is. Cardiac catheterization sometimes can also be used to help correct the defect.
  • Check blood flow through the heart after surgery.
  • Find out how well the heart valves work.

Coronary angiogram

A coronary angiogram is done to:

  • Check blood flow in the coronary arteries. If you have coronary artery disease, the test helps to find out if you may need surgery or another type of procedure, such as angioplasty with stenting.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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