Heart Catheterization- Cardiology

Doctor: Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon

What is heart catheterization?

Heart catheterization is also known as cardiac catheterization. It is a medical procedure that is used to examine the function of heart and to diagnose and treat some heart conditions.

Who requires heart catheterization?

This procedure is performed to find out the cause of symptoms such as chest pain or irregular heartbeat, or to find out whether a patient has ischemic heart disease due to blockages in the coronary arteries.

The procedure:

Patients is given a sedative before the procedure. This procedure generally is done near groin area.

A local anesthetic agent is generally given to numb the needle puncture site. The doctor will make a needle puncture through patient’s skin and into a large blood vessel.  A small straw-sized tube (called a sheath) is inserted into the vessel. Next, a long, thin, flexible tube known as a catheter is put into a blood vessel through the sheath. The catheter is then threaded to the heart.

This procedure is done to perform different types of interventions. This technique is used to collect samples of blood or heart muscle.  During angiography, a catheter is used to inject a dye that can be seen on X-rays. During an angioplasty or a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a catheter is used to clear a narrowed or blocked artery. During valvuloplasty, a catheter is used to widen a narrowed heart valve opening.

What to expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, pressure is applied to the puncture site to stop the bleeding. Patient is asked to keep the leg straight. Heart catheterization is safe for most patients with very rare complications.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.