Cardiac Catheterization and Angiography

Cardiac catheterization is a test to check the heart and coronary arteries. It is used to check blood flow in the coronary arteries (blockages), blood flow and blood pressure in the chambers of the heart (heart failure), find out how well the heart valves work (leaky or narrowed valve), and check for problems in how the wall of the heart moves (heart attacks).
During cardiac catheterization, a soft, thin tube (catheter) is put in a blood vessel in the wrist or groin and gently moved into the heart. A special dye (contrast material) that shows up on X-rays is injected through the catheter. An X-ray picture on a computer screen shows the dye moving through the blood vessels and into the chambers of the heart. X-ray pictures of the dye can check for narrowing or blockage of the arteries.