Cardiac Catheterization/Coronary Angiogram

An invasive imaging procedure that involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the arm or leg, and guiding it to your heart with the aid of a special x-ray machine. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that x-ray movies of your valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers are taken. 
Your doctor uses cardiac catheterization to:

• evaluate or confirm the presence of heart disease (such as coronary artery disease, valve disease or disease of the aorta) 
• evaluate heart muscle function
• determine the need for further treatment (angioplasty or bypass surgery) 

The x-ray camera is used to take photographs of the arteries and heart chambers. When all the photos have been taken, the catheter is removed. The cardiac catheterization procedure only takes about 30 minutes but requires several hours from the preparation through the recovery time.