Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

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?

Health Tools

Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

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.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

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.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure