Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath or heart cath) is a procedure to examine how well your heart is working. A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart. View an illustration of cardiac catheterization.
- Cardiac cath is performed to find out if you have disease of the heart muscle, valves or coronary (heart) arteries.
- During the procedure, the pressure and blood flow in your heart can be measured.
- Coronary angiography is done during cardiac catheterization. A contrast dye visible in X-rays is injected through the catheter. X-ray images show the dye as it flows through the heart arteries. This shows where arteries are blocked.
- The chances that problems will develop during cardiac cath are low.