Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiogram

When performing CHD treatment, doctor shall know the size and the location of fat and calcium deposits (plaque) that are narrowing the coronary arteries before coming up with a treatment solution. Coronary catheterization, one of the several cardiology diagnostic tests and procedures, is specifically a visually interpreted test performed to identify occlusion, stenosis, restenosis, thrombosis, etc., and has been recognized as the Gold Standard of CHD diagnosis.

During the test, doctor, under X-ray monitoring, inserts a thin hollow tube, called a catheter, through the artery of leg or wrist and carefully moves it up into the heart. Once the catheter is in place, contrast medium is injected into the catheter to highlight any blockages in blood flow. If percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) needs to be performed at the same time, doctor will explain to and discuss with patient prior to the test. If patient agrees to receive the therapy, PCI procedure can be performed right after the cardiac catheterization is completed.

Cardiac catheterization carries a certain degree of risk but complications do not occur often. Severe complications include death, myocardial infarction, stroke, heart wall rupture, aortic rupture and serious bleeding. Other complications include cardiac arrhythmia, hematoma, allergic reaction to contrast medium, etc.