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Cardiac Catheterization


Cardiac catheterization involves passing a thin flexible tube (catheter) into the right or left side of the heart, usually from the groin or the arm.


How the Test is Performed


You will be given medicine before the test to help you relax.

The health care provider cleans a site on your arm, neck, or groin and inserts a line into one of your veins. This is called an intravenous (IV) line.

A larger plastic thin tube called a sheath is placed into a vein or artery in your leg or arm. Then longer plastic tubes called catheters are carefully moved up into the heart using live x-rays as a guide. Then the doctor can:

  • Collect blood samples from the heart
  • Measure pressure and blood flow in the heart's chambers and in the large arteries around the heart
  • Measure the oxygen in different parts of your heart
  • Examine the arteries of the heart
  • Perform biopsy of the heart muscle.


If you have a blockage, you may have angioplasty and a stent placed during the procedure.

The test may last 30 - 60 minutes. If you also need special procedures, the test may take longer. If the catheter is placed in your groin, you will usually be asked to lie flat on your back for a few hours after the test to avoid bleeding.

You will be told how to take care of yourself when you go home after the procedure is done.

















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