Cardiac catheterization involves passing a thin flexible tube, called a catheter, through an artery or a vein to the heart, and into a coronary artery. This procedure produces X-ray images (called angiograms) of the coronary arteries and the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. They also can be used to measure pressures in the pulmonary artery and to monitor heart function.
In most cases, cardiac catheterization is recommended when a partial or complete blockage of a blood vessel is suspected. It is used to evaluate how well the heart is functioning and to obtain information about blockages.
Cardiac catheterization is performed in a hospital. Usually, the procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform, with a recovery time of three to four hours.