CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION (Coronary Angiography)
Cardiac catheterization is an X-ray test that uses radiographic contrast (‘dye”) to visualize the coronary arteries and pinpoint the presence and severity of blockages and, more importantly, to determine the best treatment available. If the test revealed blockages, you will be offered one of three treatment modalities: medications only, angioplasty or bypass surgery.
The test is done on an outpatient basis. The patient is mildly sedated but awake during the procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area (usually the right groin). Soft plastic tubes (“catheters”) are inserted into the artery and then advanced under X-ray guidance. The dye is injected into the heart chambers and coronaries and pictures are taken from different angles. This is the best test available to find and visualize the blockages.
A non-threatening environment, caring nurses and skillful technologists will make this experience more comfortable for you.
It is not uncommon to have blockages in more than one artery. These tests are sometimes done simultaneously.