Cardiac catheterization involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel and threading it to the heart. Through the catheter, doctors can do diagnostic tests inside the heart itself.
What is the purpose of a cardiac catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is designed to give you and your doctor a better understanding of what is causing your problem, as well as provide vital information on how you can be treated. Cardiac catheterization can be used to:
- Diagnose heart disease. Contrast dyes are injected through the catheter, so that any blockages in the heart and blood vessels can be seen easily on x-rays-a process called angiography.
- Measure pressure and oxygen levels. Doctors can check how well the valves that control the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers are working.
- Take samples of heart tissue. These can help doctors identify infection, inflammation, tumors or a rejection of a transplanted heart.
- Confirm heart abnormalities. This can be important for doctors planning a patient’s heart surgery.
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