There are many tools at a cardiologists disposal which help determine how healthy a patient’s heart is and how well it is functioning. The Coronary Catheterization is one of those which is very safe and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
During the catheterization procedure, a small tube is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to the heart. At the tip of the catheter can be placed various instruments which perform different tasks once inside the heart. Here are some of the tests that can be performed as part of a Coronary Catheterization.

Coronary Angiography
A Coronary Angiography is a test commonly performed in patients to see whether or not they are candidates for an Angioplasty. During the Angiography contrast dye is injected through the catheter and x-ray images are taken of the heart to determine whether the coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed.

If the cardiologist suspects the heart tissue may be damaged or diseased she can opt to have a biopsy taken of the heart muscle. Instead of putting the patient through the invasive procedure of cutting them open to take a biopsy, cardiologists perform biopsies as part of a catheterization which is a very low-risk procedure.

We’ve talked before about the angioplasty and stenting procedures. These are always done as part of a catheterization. Once the catheter is weaved up through the arteries the tip of it blows up like a balloon, pressing the plaque that is blocking blood flow into the walls of the arteries to make more space for blood to move freely into and out of the heart. In some cases, a mesh stent is placed at this point in the procedure to hold the artery open and promote blood flow.

Other Evaluations
In addition to these procedures, a Coronary Catheterization allows a cardiologist to perform other critical evaluations. For example, it may be used to take blood samples from inside the heart to measure the oxygen content in each of the chambers. It can also be used to check pressure, pumping ability, and muscle structure within each of the heart’s chambers/

A coronary catheterization is a procedure which safely, and non-invasively allows cardiologists to get inside the heart and the surrounding arteries and test blood or tissues, and to provide lifesaving treatments. In itself, the catheterization is just a tool used to facilitate other procedures but is very important nonetheless. Do you have questions about your own heart health? Contact us today to get in touch with a member of our team of cardiologists.