What is cardiac catheterization?
A cardiac catheterization is a procedure to examine blood flow to the heart and test how well the heart is pumping. A doctor inserts a thin plastic tube (catheter) into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. From there it can be advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries.
This test can measure blood pressure within the heart and how much oxygen is in the blood. It’s also used to get information about the pumping ability of the heart muscle. Catheters also are used to inject dye into the coronary arteries. This is called coronary angiography or coronary arteriography. Catheters with a balloon on the tip are used in the procedure called coronary angioplasty (commonly referred to as percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI).