Harbin Clinic cardiologists use a wide range of innovative technologies to perform procedures that help accurately treat and diagnose patients with cardiac issues. Many of these procedures are performed with the use of a cardiac cath.
Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions.
A long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck and threaded to your heart. Through the catheter, your doctor can do diagnostic tests and treatments on your heart.
For example, your doctor may put a special type of dye in the catheter. The dye will flow through your bloodstream to your heart. Then, your doctor will take x-ray pictures of your heart. The dye will make your coronary (heart) arteries visible in the pictures. The dye can show whether a waxy substance called plaque (pronounced “plak”) has built up inside your coronary arteries. Plaque can narrow or block the arteries and restrict blood flow to your heart. The buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries is called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease.
Cardiac catheterization is performed in a hospital. You’re awake during the procedure, and it causes little or no pain. However, you may feel some soreness in the blood vessel where the catheter was inserted.
With cardiac caths, cardiologists can also:
- Collect blood samples from the heart
- Measure pressure and blood flow in and around the heart’s chambers
- Take X-rays using contrast dye
- Examine the arteries of the heart
- Measure the oxygen levels in your heart
- Perform a biopsy on the heart muscle