Cardiac Catheterization

During a diagnostic cardiac catheterization or heart cath, a small catheter, or hollow tube, is guided through a vessel in the groin or wrist into the heart coronary arteries. A colorless, liquid "dye" is injected through the catheter, and shows narrowing in the arteries(outside heart size, inside chamber size, pumping ability of the heart, ability of the valves to open and close, as well as a measurement of the pressures within the heart).

This procedure can often be done on an outpatient basis. You may have the procedure done early in the day and go home later the same day. A heart cath may also be done on patients who are already hospitalized and will remain in the hospital after the procedure.

The patient will be awake during the procedure, although sedating medication may be given prior to undergoing the procedure. Catheterization often serves as the basis for future treatments, or for planning purposes.

For more specific, detailed information regarding this or any other cardiac procedure, please call the Cardiac Cath Lab at (608)775-2233 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 52233, Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cardiac catheterization is used to study the various functions of the heart. Using different techniques, the coronary arteries can be viewed by injecting dye or opened using balloon angioplasty. The oxygen concentration can be measured across the valves and walls (septa) of the heart and pressures within each chamber of the heart and across the valves can be measured. The technique can even be performed in small, newborn infants.
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