Cardiac Catheterization (Cath) is also known as Heart Cath, angiogram (Angio, pronounced an-gee-o-gram) or arteriogram (pronounced art-e-rio-gram). The latter two terms describe the use of contrast material to take x-ray pictures of the heart and blood vessels.
If catheters are introduced through the femoral (pronounced fem-rull) or groin artery, the procedure is known as "left heart" catheterization, because the catheter goes from the femoral artery to the aorta, coronary arteries, and the left ventricle (LV). This accounts for the majority of procedures. Left heart cath can also be performed by using the artery near the elbow (brachial) or wrist (radial).
If a catheter is also placed in the right femoral vein to measure pressures within the right side of the heart, the procedure is called "right heart" catheterization. This is used in patients with congenital heart disease, diseases of the heart valve, or certain conditions involving the pericardium (pronounced peri-card-e-yum) or sac of the heart. This may also be used in certain diseases of the heart muscle, heart failure, shock, or when measurements of heart output or lung pressures are needed. Right and left heart catheterization is a combination of the two.
This page was reviewed and updated on August 28, 2011
If an outpatient procedure is planned, the following checklist needs to be followed: