Patient care - Adult cardiac, endovascular, and thoracic aortic surgery
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Cardiac catheterization - Cardiac catheterization involves the passage of a catheter (a thin flexible tube) into the right or left side of the heart. Generally this procedure is performed to obtain diagnostic information about the heart or its blood vessels or to provide therapeutic interventions in certain types of heart conditions.
Alternative Names: Catheterization - cardiac; Heart catheterization
Cardiac catheterization can be used to determine pressure and blood flow in the heart's chambers, collect blood samples from the heart, and examine the arteries of the heart with an X-ray technique called fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy provides immediate ("real-time") visualization of the X-ray images on a screen and provides a permanent record of the procedure.
Cardiac catheterization is used to study the various functions of the heart. Using different techniques, the coronary arteries can be viewed by injecting dye or opened using balloon angioplasty. The oxygen concentration can be measured across the valves and walls (septa) of the heart and pressures within each chamber of the heart and across the valves can be measured. The technique can even be performed in small, newborn infants.
How the test is performed: You will be given a mild sedative prior to the test to help you relax. An intravenous (IV) line is inserted into one of the blood vessels in your arm, neck, or groin after the site has been cleansed and numbed with a local anesthetic.
A catheter is then inserted through the IV and into your blood vessel. The catheter is carefully threaded into the heart using an X-ray machine that produces real-time pictures (fluoroscopy). Once the catheter is in place, contrast material is injected and pictures are taken.