Cardiac catheterization is a common, noninvasive procedure that physicians use to diagnose and/or treat heart disease. Also called cardiac cath or heart cath, it allows your physician to find out if you have heart disease by examining the arteries leading to your heart. Depending on what they find, they may treat the problem at the same time with angioplasty with or without Stenting. 

Catheterization is used to do other cardiac procedures as well, such as an electrophysiology study (EPS) or a peripheral vascular angiogram.  


Before the procedure, you will have an intravenous (IV) line started in a vein, usually in your hand or arm. This will be used to inject intravenous fluids and medications during your procedure. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will provide light sedation thru IV to help you relax as well as a local anesthetic at the surgical site as needed.

Your physician will make a small needle puncture at the entrance site. They will then insert a thin, flexible line called a catheter into an artery or vein and gently guide it to your heart. They can then do diagnostic tests and measurements using this catheter.

The physician may also perform coronary angiography to visualize your arteries. They will inject dye through the catheter and into your coronary arteries that is visible to x-ray. They will then use a type of live x-ray that allows them to see areas of restricted blood flow. 

If they find significant narrowing or blockage in an artery, your physician may choose to perform angioplasty. 

If there is no blockage, they will withdraw the catheter and ask you to rest until the sedative wears off. You will then be discharged home the same day.